Rise Up Together Events
Each of the ministries on this page are serving their neighbors who are dealing with poverty, in powerful ways. Not only providing opportunities to meet their immediate needs, but learning how to grow in relationship with them so they might accompany them as together they address poverty through advocacy and systemic change. Perhaps you’d like to join us to serve at one of these ministries during a Rise Up Together Event, or simply explore with us the ways God is calling and equipping your congregation to serve your neighborhood or community.
The Matt’s: The Youth Center at St Matthew’s Lutheran, York
Known by some as the “best-kept” secret in York, because the kids who came didn’t want to share this cool space with others, the Youth Center at St. Matthew’s will celebrate 50 years of service to the community in 2016! Maybe it really is a secret not only to synod congregations, but even to some who attend church there. Called “The Matt’s” by the local kids who frequent the Center, it features a basketball court, snack bar, game tables, video games, conversation areas, TV’s and more.
But there’s more to this community outreach than just rec and food. Each evening features a halftime, that includes scripture, learning and prayer for all attendees. Many youth attendees had their first encounter with Christ at The Matt’s. In fact, the graffiti art that adorns the staircase from the street level to the The Matt’s Rec Room, shows one young man’s journey of discovery of Jesus and the transformation in his own life.
The Matt’s is open Wednesday, Thursday evenings from 7:oo PM – 9:00 PM, and Fridays from 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM, and is always i need of volunteers to help staff and interact with the neighborhood students who frequent the Center. It is one of the featured ministries we will participate in during the Rise Up Together: York Event, and will continue to be one of the partner organizations as we bring additional groups to York as part of the growth and spread of the Rise Up Together Ministry movement in Lower Susquehanna Synod.
Community Breakfast & Clothing Sharing Ministry, Union Lutheran, York
On the “west end” as it’s known in York city, Union Lutheran stands as a beacon of hope to their neighbors looking to be fed with the Gospel, but also with food and a sense of community. The second Saturday of each month they open their doors to anyone from the neighborhood looking for a hot breakfast or a little companionship over a meal. In addition, they make available clothing and shoes they have collected at no cost to local homeless or people living with the realities of poverty, no matter what their socio-economic status. In addition, The Well, their food pantry, makes food and personal care items available to neighbors in need.
Volunteer-led, these ministries represent a growing partnership between the members and leadership of Union Lutheran and their neighbors,as they strive to live out their call as light-bearers in a neighborhood responding to the many challenges of poverty. Pastor Joel Folkemer and a number of congregational members have worked diligently to establish a partnership with the York Rescue Mission http://yorkrescuemission.org/, located just across West Market Street, the Lehman Center http://www.cassd.org/lehman-center/, whose property borders Union’s property, and other local organizations working to help the people of the west end. Recently, volunteers added a children’s craft to the Community Breakfast in an effort to create opportunity for engaging neighborhood children and their parents in conversation.
Community Breakfast, St. Mark’s Lutheran, Harrisburg
The Community Breakfast at St Mark’s is the first ministry to emerge as a result of the efforts of a few volunteers who attended the Rise Up Together “pilot” event in October 2015. After attending the event in York, they returned to their home congregation and proposed a similar kind of community breakfast at St Mark’s. While their neighborhood demographic differs from Union Lutheran in York city, the free Community Breakfast is offered to any and all members of the congregation and to the members of the neighborhoods surrounding the church. While many who attend are not homeless, many do live with the realities of living paycheck to paycheck, some are aging and on limited incomes, while many are first-career singles living on their own for the first time.
St Mark’s added live music and a craft for children, realizing the numbers of families in walking distance to their congregation. This opened the door for breakfast guests to sing and sit-down with volunteers not only for the meal but to do crafts with children and adults alike. Planners agree that the crafts and singing help neighbors feel more like guests and leads to easier conversation and a trust between the congregation volunteers and guests.
Candleheart Ministries: Life Recovery Center
Anyone who has walked alongside a family member or friend who is struggling with addiction, knows the power and importance of a healthy community when it comes to “recovery.” In addition to providing the loving community aspect, Candleheart is unapologetically a Christian recovery center, emphasizing the Word and a relationship with God as a part of a resident’s transition back into an independent and “clean” lifestyle. The year-long transitional residency program is voluntary for some, and court-approved for others, but all resident’s stay because they truly desire to get clean and to restore their lives to a healthy balance. To learn more or to donate, visit their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/CandleheartCommunity/?fref=ts
We’d LOVE to hear your stories!
Share the ways your congregation is responding faithfully to poverty in your neighborhood, by sending your stories to the Office for Children, Youth & Family Ministry, email@example.com