“When one congregation or a group of congregations gather for service in their local communities, they are the church in that place, taking care of that part of God’s vineyard. But this is all work that we do together.” These are words so eloquently spoken by Bishop Elizabeth Eaton about the ELCA’s annual “God’s Work. Our Hands.” event taking place on Sunday, September 7, 2014.
|This event is a unique opportunity for your congregation to look into the future and think about how you will continue to spread the unconditional love and welcome that is so embodied in the message of Christ. You can do this in new and bold ways, better serving your community, living into your RIC commitment by making a positive difference in the lives of LGBT families, friends and loved ones.|
There are many ways that your congregation can participate in this event. The ELCA published a wonderful tool kit at www.elca.or/dayofservice to consult. We encourage you to use this resource in your planning. This toolkit however, is broad in how it presents the event, and this message seeks to give you ideas specific to your commitment as an RIC setting in your neighborhood.
- Your congregation could participate by partnering with ReconcilingWorks and your local school district to create awareness of LGBT bullying and to create an anti-bully message to be spread into the community by hosting a workshop for church and community members as well as elected officials, teachers and school board members. Find the “Where All Can Safely Live” Allies Against Bullying curriculum here.
- Click here to get a free digital copy of Your People Shall Be My People marriage conversation guide. This guide has many resources that will help your congregation better minister to same gender couples in your community. You can request more information on this and other resources by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Another way for your congregation to participate is by reaching out to a local LGBT community center to start a conversation about needs they may have at their location. Maybe the local center could use some landscaping work. Or perhaps your congregation could volunteer some hours to staff the reception area or phone line. Your congregation’s “God’s Work. Our Hands.” project could respond to those needs. Here is one resource (not comprehensive) to locate your local community center.
With all of our hands working together, we will be an extraordinary witness to the loving God in the LGBT community!
Go in Peace and Serve the Lord!