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Showing posts from May, 2017

Church Together Across State Lines

My name is Kinna, and I am the Director of Youth and Family Ministry between two smaller congregations, St. Mark’s Lutheran and St. Stephen’s Episcopal, in a wildly diverse area on Del Mar Cir in Aurora, CO. One way we live out the claim that we are church, better together, is through our annual “Two Week Summer Camp”. This past summer, we had one week of camp at the Episcopal church, and one week at the Lutheran Church. We have a great challenge with our Summer Camp in that that each year our attendance of young people ages 4-17 continues to increase. However, our number of volunteers continue to decrease due to natural causes and a higher demand for help! So this last summer, I had to get creative…

In years past, we had done all of the programming from within, which required a large number of people and time. So this year, we reached out beyond our churches and asked Sky Ranch Lutheran Camp to run the programming for us. Then I invited youth groups from Minnesota and Washington to ac…

God's Work, Our Hands for Almost Like Home

For the past four years, volunteers from St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Arvada have been visiting Almost Like Home, a memory care facility right next door to the church. Twice a month, they offer communion, scripture, song and smiles to the residents and their families.

This year, St. Andrew decided to partner with Advent Lutheran in Westminster to do God’s Work, Our Hands together. They asked the director of Almost Like Home how they could serve them on September 11, and the response was, “We’d love for you to serve our residents, families and staff an appreciation dinner and we’ll provide the food!” So that’s what the two churches rallied around.

On the morning of September 11, people from both churches gathered for a spirited joint worship service at Advent Lutheran. 57 volunteers from both congregations then gathered at St. Andrew to organize into service teams and walked over to Almost Like Home. Some of the volunteers offered brief worship services with communion at the six differe…

The Long History of Lutheran Advocacy

In my role I visit a lot of congregations to tell the story of our faith-based advocacy work in the Rocky Mountain Synod. Usually, I begin that story in 1984, when the congregations of one of our predecessor denominations decided to organize formal Lutheran public policy offices for Colorado and New Mexico in response to threatened federal cuts to our social safety net. Thanks to all of our congregations, we have been engaged in full-time advocacy for over 30 years. But even that doesn’t tell the whole story. In fact, did you know that the Rocky Mountain Synod has been advocating on public policy issues for over 125 years?

Consider this excerpt from the minutes of the First Annual Convention of the Rocky Mountain Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, held at St. Paul’s English Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denver, Colorado, October 28th-November 1st, 1891:

“The following resolutions of the General Synod were presented and adopted as a whole: WHEREAS, The continued existence and the…

New L.I.F.E in Albuquerque

The L.I.F.E. Program stands for, “Liberty in Financial Education” and it will begin this month
through a partnership between St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church Albuquerque, the Rio Grande Credit Union, and Zia Elementary School. Our work with Ruth Hoffman and Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-NM called us to stand up against the devastating impact of predatory lending in New Mexico. St. Timothy’s is located in an area inundated by these lenders. L.I.F.E. is St. Timothy’s response. 

Qualifying families from Zia will be given an application to the L.I.F.E Program, which includes 10 weeks of financial education followed by 24 months of financial incentives that allow families to put to work what they have learned in the 10-week program. Below are the basics:

1. Participants will attend at least 9 out of 10 one-hour sessions of financial education offered by a certified Financial Educator.

2. Upon completion of at least 9 of the 10 sessions, St. Tim’s will assist families in opening a savings account a…

Congregations Becoming Safe Stops in the Neighborhood

It was about 1 o’clock in the morning, and we had just finished up a call for service. I was doing a ride-a-long with a police officer. The call load had died down, and it was now time to get caught up on the paperwork from the busy shift. I joked with my officer that he didn’t need me as a chaplain in his car, what he needed was a secretary. The calls we were on that night required quite a bit of documentation. We pulled into a dimly lit church parking lot, and the officer began writing at his desk – a clipboard and steering wheel. As I sat next to him thinking about what it looks like for me as a chaplain to support this officer, I wandered why we were sitting in the parking lot of this church instead of going in. The Safe Stop program began to take shape.

Safe Stops are essentially a substation for officers located in a church. The Safe Stop is a non-contact office that is away from the public’s eye. The Safe Stop is a place that officers can grab a cup of coffee, cold drink, snack,…