Blog

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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People of diverse cultures and backgrounds holding hands
10 JUNE 2017

How To Build Community Between Immigrants And Non-immigrants

A good many congregations are located in communities that are changing demographically. The influx of immigrants into the neighborhood might present a unexpected challenge, particularly when these new Americans come from parts of the world known only through news media reports, not real life experience. Intercambio, a non-profit organization in Boulder, Colorado, sponsors English education […]

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20 MAY 2017

How Small Congregations Can Serve the Community

Sometimes people ask, “What can we do?  We are a small congregation!  Here are two examples of two congregations that leveraged their resources to change the community for the better. St John’s: Building Partnerships “St. John’s United Church of Christ is a ethnic church in Aurora, Illinois, that has about twenty people in worship on […]

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6 MAY 2017

Syringe Exchange: One Pastor’s Experience

Harm reduction is a practical strategy to promote safety among persons who use drugs. Needle exchange is a good example of the approach. Congregations in New York City, Seattle, San Francisco and Boston offer needle exchange services. People who inject drugs often share needles, raising the risk of infection with Hepatitis C or HIV. Providing […]

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28 APRIL 2017

Donating Goods: 4 Creative Ideas

With over 3 million members, Dosomething.org is one of the largest online organizations for young persons aged 13-25. Their purpose: “to make the world suck less” through promoting social action. Here are some creative ideas for young people or “old people” (meaning over the age of 25) that each involve donating something to people who […]

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