Steve preached a compelling message yesterday. We love and serve a generous and gracious God who has given everything that we might be rescued from sin and death and have true life in Christ. As children of God we are called to live and love in light of who our God is, generously reaching out in love to those in need around us.
One of my favorite prayers in the Book of Common Prayer is found in the Service of Morning Prayer on page 101:
Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross, that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace. So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your name. Amen.
So now what? How can you and your family or friends actually reach out and love and serve those in need? What are some next steps?
I have the privilege of serving on the Local Missions Team at All Saints Church and I would love to give you a run-down of what we are doing and how you and your friends or family could get involved in local mission.
All Saints has three levels of involvement in local mission: Partners, Projects, and Programs.
Local mission projects and programs arise as needs are made known to our church and we feel called by the Spirit to move into the need. Projects are events that happen once a year, while Programs are ongoing. Programs take the most time and energy, but they are highly relational and bring the richest rewards. Here is a list of our local mission partners, programs, and projects, and ways for you to get involved:
Local Mission Partners:
- World Relief – Consider volunteering as a resettlement partner. There are thirty refugee families living in Oak Creek Village from all over the world who are fleeing persecution in their home countries and starting over here in the US. You could adopt a couple, individual, or family for 3-6 months and help them in this time of transition. Contact Tim McGee for more information. To learn more about World Relief visit their website: www.worldrelief.org.
- Samaritan Health Clinic – SHC is a free medical clinic for homeless adults and children as well as World Relief refugees which operates in downtown Durham. To learn more, visit the SHC website (www.samaritanhealthcenter.org/SHC/). Contact Karyn Stitzenberg to find out how to volunteer.
- Young Life – Pray for Rob Crocker (the new area director), local young life leaders, and students. Contact Rob about ways to get involved.
- Ralph Ennis – The Navigators – Pray for Ralph as he writes for and trains Navigator staff around the country. Pray for Ralph and contact him for ways to support him and get involved in his ministry.
- Hank Tarlton – InterVarsity Christian Fellowship Graduate Student and Faculty Ministries at UNC – Pray for Hank and contact him for ways to support him and get involved in his ministry.
- Charlie Densmore – Campus Crusade for Christ – Duke University Undergraduate Ministries. Pray for Charlie and contact him for ways to support him and get involved in his ministry.
- John and Julie Farmer – InterVarsity Christian Fellowship – UNC Undergraduate Ministries – Pray for John and Julie and contact them for ways to support them and get involved in their ministry ( email@example.com // firstname.lastname@example.org )
- Urban Hope – A ministry of the Navigators serving Walltown in Downtown Durham. Visit their website ( www.urbanhope.us ) or email Bahari Harris to learn more about Urban Hope and to get involved.
- Kairos Prison Ministry – Kairos meets the spiritual needs of incarcerated men, women, and children; their families; and those who work in the prison environment. Learn more by visiting their website www.kairosprisonministry.org. Email or talk to Greg or Carol Ohmstede about their involvement (email@example.com // firstname.lastname@example.org )
Local Mission Programs
- Eagles Nest – An after-school tutoring program which meets at All Saints on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:45-6 pm. No Spanish is needed to tutor. Contact me (Thomas Kortus) for more information.
- ESL Classes – Classes meet on Saturday mornings at Church of the Good Shepherd. Contact me for more information.
Local Mission Projects
- Summer Kids Club – Youth and Adults plan and organize a summer kids camp for Oak Creek Kids that includes games, crafts, music, Bible stories, snacks and culminates in a community celebration for the kids and their families. When? TBD soon!)
- Back-to-School Backpack Project – All Saints opens its doors to Oak Creek residents to come and receive backpacks, school supplies, and access to Durham Public School administrators and staff to ask questions. The date for next school year’s event: Sunday, August 14, 2011
For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another….By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in DEED and in TRUTH.
It is clear that our love of God must produce concrete and tangible love for our neighbor in need. This is very clear in Jesus’ own teaching found in Matthew 25 in the parable of the sheep and the goats. In a mysterious and real way, how we respond to the needs of people has concrete spiritual implications. It matters.
Who are those in need in our community? In your life? Who is it that we are passing by daily? How should we respond? Is it complicated? Yes, but that does not mean we should not engage our neighbors in need. How is the Spirit leading you to respond to this call?
Consider getting involved with one of ASC’s local mission programs, projects or partners. Consider joining the Local Mission Team. Please contact me if you have any questions about how you can use your gifts, talents and time to love and serve our community.
-rev. thomas kortus