Viewing all posts by FaithfulCitizen

19 SEPTEMBER 2017

At This Food Pantry, It’s About Customer Service

Customer service plays an indispensable role at the Westside Campaign Against Hunger, the largest food pantry in Manhattan.  Located in the basement of the St. Paul and St. Andrew United Methodist Church, this pantry tells its customers, “Come again, please.”  That’s what Stewart Desmond, Executive Director, told me when I interviewed him for a film documentary […]

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30 AUGUST 2017

Do Congregations Set Up Barriers To Entry?

Do congregations unwittingly set up “Keep Out” signs to entry? A simple fact: a majority of congregations in the U.S. do not look demographically like their neighborhoods. Sadly, in terms of makeup and self-identity, who they are and how they identify themselves, most congregations do not reflect the neighborhood where they are located. It’s not […]

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4 AUGUST 2017

After School Program Lends Hope To Children

Twenty years ago, Nueva Creacion Lutheran Church started an after school program in one of Philadelphia’s toughest neighborhoods, Fairhill, known by residents as “The Badlands” due to excessive drugs and violence.  When the pastor and his wife began networking in this predominantly Puerto Rican neighborhood, they asked residents what their needs were.  The result:  Centro […]

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22 JULY 2017

“We Are Bringing the Veteran Community Together”

Do you know how many veterans live, work, and worship in your community? The first step toward finding out might be fairly simple:  Gather them together. Several years ago, the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts began to reach out to veterans through its Building Bridges Veterans Initiative.  Every Wednesday, about 45-50 veterans gather at the […]

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14 JULY 2017

Don’t Just Serve, Make Friends

Kevin Frank, Director of the Brady Faith Center in Syracuse (NY) told me of the importance of building friendships when I spoke with him about his ministry with a low income neighborhood on the city’s South Side. “Before Pope Francis was pope he was bishop in Argentina. And the people in his cathedral said to […]

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7 JULY 2017

A Case Study in Apathy

Faced with the choice of serving a local community filled with human need, some churches, like Bartleby the Scrivener, say, “I would prefer not to.” Bartleby, the lowly office worker in Herman Melville’s short story, engages in passive resistance when faced with an unwelcome assignment, for inscrutable reasons. Most non-service-oriented congregations prove equally inscrutable. John […]

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1 JULY 2017

Under the Radar: When Outreach Goes Unreported

In the average congregation, a majority of the community service activities done by its members flies under the radar. It may seem strange, yet church leaders consistently underestimate how much work the congregation is doing. Serving meals in the soup kitchen, giving away warm clothes, or participating in advocacy groups—why would most of these efforts […]

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Missions giving can be increased through planning
16 JUNE 2017

How To Increase Missions Giving

Herb Miller, author of The New Consecration Sunday Stewardship Guide, has consulted with thousands of congregations on ways to increase financial giving.[1] Here are a few tips from Miller on how to raise more money for local and global missions.[2] Permit several special offerings each year—to a variety of denominational and local community causes. Stewardship—effective […]

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