Home > Uncategorized > Outreach…An Invitation to Serve

Outreach…An Invitation to Serve

It is my hope to devote my next few blogs to one area of our Common Life as Christians who belong to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

Last Saturday, 13 August, members of the OUTREACH Committee spent the morning in retreat.  After a time of checking in and catching up on plans for the CRAFT FAIR and PARISH PICNIC on Sunday, 18 September, we devoted the remainder of our conversation around these questions.  What do we want to keep doing?  What do we want to stop doing?  What do we want to start doing?  These questions come from an approach known as APPRECIATIVE INQUIRY.  We have asked these questions about almost every aspect of our Common Life at St. Luke’s.  We these questions in mind, we reviewed the various Outreach Opportunities we are committed to as a Community of Faith!

I suggested that it might be helpful if we look at our Outreach Opportunities through another lens…that is…What opportunities are DIRECT HANDS ON opportunities AND what opportunities are really an invitation for people to make a financial contribution or gift…like purchasing a back pack…or winter coat…or school supplies…or mittens.  Get the picture?

Finally, we also considered these Outreach Opportunities by asking this question…If we stopped doing these activities, would someone else pick them up?

These questions and perspectives…gave us an insight into several places that we have historically focused on…SUNSET TERRACE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL and INTERFAITH HOSPITALITY NETWORK.

St. Luke’s has had a relationship with Sunset Terrance Elementary School for many years…beginning with Reach High, our Mentoring Program.  Every year, we have adults who volunteer to tutor or to be a prayer partner for a student at Sunset Terrace.  Our ministry has also become an avenue for several employees at Vision Solution to get involved in tutoring.   Three years ago, we were asked to consider piloting the Walking School Bus program.  Two adults meet every school day…to walk children to school. .Our witness was a catalyst for the assistant Pastor at Gethsemane Lutheran to participate.  During last winter, we were asked if we would like to participate in an initiative of Channel One’s…to provide food to dependent children each weekend during the school year.  At our invitation, persons from People of Hope have joined us as well.  At the most recent General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 2009, a resolution was adopted encouraging each congregation in the church to adopt a neighborhood elementary, middle or high school as a focus for mission.  I was pleased to be able to share with the wider church stories of our involvement in the lives of students at Sunset Terrace.

In February of 2008, we invited the Executive Director of Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN), JoAnne Markee, to give a presentation at our Sunday Forum.  After that presentation, we made a commitment to participate in this important work…as a Buddy Congregation, partnering with one or more Faith communities…four weeks a year…to provide food and shelter for families in transition.  Lucinda Stockwell was our first Parish Liaison with IHN and Anne Shelby has served as our second Parish Liaison for several years.  This is also a HANDS ON Outreach opportunity that makes a difference.  There is training required for people to participate and if we stopped doing this…it would be difficult to find another congregation to step right in.

In 2006, The Episcopal Church adopted the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) as a lens through which we participate in God’s Mission.  At St. Luke’s, we adopted the MDG’s as our way of participating in local, national and international opportunities for Mission.  Our Lenten Projects are chosen with one or more of the MDG’s in mind.  This past Lent, we participated in a Diocesan wide project called NetsForLife…and raised over $ 3,000 which purchased 264 Malaria Nets!

We provided seasonal opportunities for those who may wish to participate…also invoking the Anglican principle…ALL MAY, NONE MUST, SOME SHOULD:

Every Month – Give A Meal A Month – GAMAM Bags

August – September – Running Start for School

October – November – Community Outwear Collection – United Thank Offering (UTO)

November – December – Holiday Meals – Mitten Tree

January – February – Epiphany Birthday Bags – Souper Bowl Sunday

February – March – April – Lenten Project

We also provided seasonal opportunities to pick up litter, prepare and serve dinner for Migrant Workers in Montgomery, MN, and ring bells for the Salvation Army.  The Mission statement adopted by the Outreach Committee and endorsed by the Vestry some years ago…captures the scope and purpose of our ministry: 

The Outreach Committee will provide focus for St. Luke’s members reaching out to improve live and the conditions of life within the St. Luke’s neighborhood and extending throughout Rochester, Olmsted County, Minnesota, the nation and the world.

For the last several years, members of the Outreach Committee have put on a THANKSGIVING DINNER in early November as a way of saying thank you to everyone who participates in the various opportunities for service!  I hope you have enjoyed the fellowship offered on this evening!

We are blessed by the opportunities to reach out!  It is my hope that you receive these invitations…as that…invitations…to serve!

Thanks also to those on the Outreach Committee especially Robin Caldwell who has served so well as our Chairperson!

I look forward to your comments and suggestions!

Every blessing,

Doug

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. JaneJ
    August 19, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    One of the reasons we were drawn to St. Luke’s was the strong outreach and outward focus of the congregation. Instead of raising money and donating time to benefit the congregation, St Luke’s clearly raised money and donated time to the benefit of others. I think many religious communities have lost this focus; kudos to those who help us keep this focus. My commitment is to do at least one additional activity this year; will others join me?

  2. Tami Walker
    August 19, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Doug / Robin and members of the outreach committee – Thank you for providing so many opportunities to members of our parish to participate in either a “hands on” or financial way to carry out our mission. By having such a wide variety of options it really help us find the ones that we either feel the most passionate about, have the ability to do, or fit into our busy schedules! It has also helped me over the years teach my children an appreciation for helping those less fortunate than ourselves. We have had fun shopping for birthday party supplies, finding things on the GAMAM shopping list ( still have a hard time with muffins that don’t require eggs ;-), ringing the Salvation Army Bells and packing the Sunset Terrace backpacks. It make us all think about the children that receive these supplies and how we can help be the hands of Christ in this world. PLEASE keep up the great work!! Tami

    Another favorite is our adopted INH family Christmas gift shopping!!

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