March 30, 2017

It’s Time for A Brave New Church

Greetings friends and colleagues, I am pleased to share some sobering and some exciting news with you during this holy season of Lent. In this time of intentional personal reflection, prayer, and discernment, it is good for us to also reflect on our circumstances as a church. The simple truth is that across America the...

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June 9, 2016

Becoming A Place For All

With increasing diversity in our culture and growing mobility of people across and into the U.S., how can we as ELCA congregations become places that affirm the God-given dignity and personhood of everyone? What will it take? What’s our role? What’s working? Watch Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, Pastor Ruben Duran, Mikka McCracken and Pastor Matt...

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May 26, 2016

Living Gospel: A Firm Foundation

Pastor Linda Manson and Living Gospel Ministries, our newest faith community, are giving people newly returned from incarceration a sense of self-worth and help re-integrating with society. “It’s important to me that the people who come to be in ministry with us feel loved and cared for,” Pastor Manson says. Building up self-worth undergirds the work Living...

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March 14, 2016

“Do Something You Never Thought You Could”

The Church didn’t cause the steady decline in religious participation over the last 50 years, says LTSP President David Lose. Massive changes have shifted the world around the church. But in holding on to what used to work church leaders have missed many of the changes, Lose said at Ministry Resource Day on campus in...

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February 16, 2016

How To Really Welcome Guests

In 13 years of worshiping in different congregations every week, AugsburgFortress CEO Beth Lewis has seen “the good, the bad, and the very ugly” of church hospitality. In presentations hosted by the Synod and the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, Lewis offered a host of suggestions for congregations that want to enhance their hospitality, in...

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February 9, 2016

‘Dust Is Not the Final Word’

The crosses marked on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday are signs of both life and death. The ashes suggest our eventual return too the dust, but “the dust is not the final word,” says Welcome Church Pastor Violet Little. At an Ash Wednesday service on Logan Park in 2013, Pastor Violet told her flock “What...

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February 9, 2016

Welcome Church Shelters ‘Women of the Well’

The Welcome Church is collaborating with a number of partners to provide nighttime housing for women experiencing homelessness in Center City. The shelter, called “the Well,” will open at the Church of the Crucifixion at 8th and Bainbridge Streets on Sunday, Feb. 14. It will offer a place for gathering and renewal from 7:30 pm...

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February 6, 2016

Embracing Diversity in the ELCA

In its February issue, The Lutheran focuses on multicultural congregations and their successes and struggles. You can read how truly inclusive membership requires intention and support and find resources for further conversation. In the “Deeper understandings” column, ask if multicultural ministry is a matter of faith or a fad.  To help your discussion of the...

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July 17, 2014

Nurturing Vibrant Congregations

Growing the vibrancy of a congregation is not something that can be imparted by a new pastor or a consultant, but is the result of congregations taking ownership of the need for change, understanding any gaps between where they are and where they want to be, and experimenting with ways to make faith useful to...

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May 10, 2014

Ministry Partner: Stewardship Resource Team

“It’s all about modeling” said Rev. Larry Smoose, team leader for the Synod’s Stewardship Resource Team.  To grow mission-minded stewards of finances, time, and talent, said Rev. Smoose, it’s important that congregational leaders – and congregations themselves – model what it means to be good stewards.  For example, if the goal is tithing, the congregation...

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January 17, 2014

Welcome Threads: Sharing Wisdom and Talent from the Streets

The Welcome Church, a church without walls ministering with people experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia, has started a social enterprise known as Welcome Threads that builds community, teaches job skills and provides participants with some income. “The main thing people want is a purpose,” said Pastor Violet Little, lead pastor of Welcome Church. “They want to...

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November 11, 2013

Little Receives 2013 Purpose Prize

Welcome Church Pastor Violet Little honored with prize for people over 60 solving tough social problems.   The Rev. Violet Little, pastor of Philadelphia’s Welcome Church ministering to people experiencing homelessness, is one of seven winners of the 2013 Purpose Prize, which honors people over 60 who are using their “second acts” to make a...

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October 16, 2013

How Is Your Congregation Website?

Are you satisfied with your congregation website? At last Sunday’s Communicators’ Network Gathering, Bob Fisher shared tips for congregations looking to evaluate their existing website or develop a new site. Websites are a key portal that visitors use to find and evaluate congregations, Fisher says. Many adults use web searches instead of telephone books or...

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March 20, 2013

Turning Point Receives Burst Grant

Rhawnhurst Turning Point has received a “Burst” grant from Wheat Ridge Ministries to support its Saturday Service Program, which takes youth and adults into the community to serve one Saturday each month. Turning Point partners with local non-profits to engage different types of service, to allow youth to discover their gifts and passions, develop their...

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February 4, 2013

Making Release a Reality

Photo by Flickr user wallyg under Creative Commons license. All Christians are called to proclaim release to captives. Philadelphia’s Living Gospel Ministries lives out this charge by helping ease the transition for some people returning to the community from incarceration. “In Philadelphia, at least 35,000 persons return from prison every year,” says Linda Manson, the mission developer of Living Gospel, our newest synodically authorized worshipping...

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