This Sunday we held a breakfast to talk about our future as a congregation. First, we reported what we learned from you in our last round of conversations. Here are the main areas First Lutheran has expressed in interest, in terms of issues and values:
Focus Issue Ideas
- Supporting Children and Families
- Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)
- Welcoming Immigrants
- “You must not oppress foreigners. You know what it’s like to be a foreigner, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. (Exodus 23:9)
- Feeding the Hungry
- Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ … And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25:34-36, 40)
Focus Value Ideas
- Faith Formation (and Christian Education for All Ages)
- They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (Acts 2:42)
- Community and Connection
- Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. (1 Corinthians 12:12-14)
- There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)
- Renewal and Refreshment
- “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
- “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2)
- Serving Our Neighbors
- Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. (1 Peter 4:10)
As we looked over those issues and values, and combined them with the assets our community has to offer (from physical objects to time to abilities), we came up with suggestions of ministry projects we could take on together as a congregation. Half are brand new, and half partner with the wider community in efforts that have already begun. These ideas are…
Brand New Initiatives
Operation Turkey Cookies
We’ve found that many folks do not need the sandwiches we’ve made for Thanksgiving, but may accept some baked goods as a sign of our love and thanks when they work a holiday. Are you interested in baking separately or together, then delivering baked goods? Let us know!
Teacher Appreciation Meal
The public school budget is limited and does not include food for in-house education for teachers or much teacher appreciation. This ministry is for anyone interested in cooking and serving a breakfast for the Salemwood Teachers here at the church or at Salemwood itself once a year.
Homework Help (After School)
Have the teaching bug but no outlet? We could lead a homework club here at the church, providing snacks once or twice a week with rotating volunteers who help kids with their homework – it could be a good opportunity for youth to give back, too!
Salemwood School need reading buddies during the school day to practice reading with children. This is for anyone interested in volunteering periodically, whether once a month or once a week.
This congregation, Salemwood, and Malden CORE (Malden Community Organizing for Racial Equity) all express an interest in growing our cultural competency and learning more about race and racism. For anyone interested in planning or attending an anti-racism training and finding a way to make that a lasting commitment.
The Great Malden Bake Off
Well, a non-competitive bake-off. Want to teach us how to bake your favorite bread or sweet? To bake communion bread for Sunday or a dessert for Bread of Life? We could gather once a month on a Wednesday or Thursday before Bread of Life to bake food to share with others at church or at Bread of Life.
Language Club (learn and practice)
While we’re short on ELL teachers with time to spare, we have many hospitable people who speak a variety of languages who might want to help folks practice English and learn some words and phrases in other languages.
Joining Our Community Partners
Sponsor a garden plot/Learn to garden
Malden residents now have the opportunity to adopt a planting bed for just $25 per year at the Community Garden Bike Path! Gardeners will provide their own plants or seeds and water will be supplied by the City. Want to learn more about gardening together by sharing a plot and donating some of the food we grow to Bread of Life or using it to cook a meal? This could be a great opportunity!
Migrant Minor Work – AMMPARO
This Lutheran initiative stands for Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities. The key word is “accompaniment.” We can discern to become a “welcoming congregation,” making four commitments:
welcome and minister to migrants and identify a contact person in the congregation who has the language skills necessary for basic communication;
physically accompany migrants as they make new lives in local communities;
pray for justice for migrants; and
advocate for public policy that will positively impact the current immigration crisis, including working in partnership with the ELCA Washington Office and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service on immigration reform.
We could also continue to attend trainings to accompany migrant minors in court through the Guardian Angel program, a 4 hour training with a commitment to attending court in Boston just twice a year.
Faith partners in Burlington, MA meet to pray, sing, and walk around the ICE building in Burlington on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at 1pm. For all interested in committing to joining this peaceful, largely silent protest against the separation of families through government policy & detention or deportation of parents.
January and February of 2019 Malden is opening a warming center from 8pm-6am every night at the Church of the Nazarene on Eastern Ave. We’re going to need the entire Malden community to make this happen: overnight volunteers, donations to supply hot drinks and help pay for heat and building wear and tear, advocates to spread the word among our neighbors, and organized people to help coordinate volunteers and donations.
Make phone calls, write letters, or go for a Day on the Hill to advocate for our neighbors on whatever issues we’ve committed to as a congregation.
We want to know what you think of all this! If you weren’t at the breakfast and want to share your thoughts, please email Pastor Emily at firstlutheranpastor [at] gmail.com and let her know which of these ministry opportunities most appeal to you.
Education and Faith Formation
The other conversation we had revolved around education and faith formation. This congregation expressed a strong desire to deepen our faith and learn more about God together. Now comes the fun part: tell us what you would like to learn and how!
Would you prefer…
- A regular small group, meeting once a week or once a month
- A Sunday morning class
- An occasional retreat
- A movie or book club where we discuss what we’ve seen or read together
- Or any others?
What topics interest you?
- Bible (particular books, characters, topics?)
- Lutheran history
- Social justice issues (race, class, gender, sexual orientation)
- Spiritual practices
- Global church ministries
- Or any others?
Do you feel moved to lead a group? We will give you all the support and resources you need to succeed in this endeavor!
Where do you feel the Spirit moving you around faith formation? Email Pastor Emily at firstlutheranpastor [at] gmail.com and let her know!