Lehigh County Conference of Churches - Justice and Advocacy

Congregations in Mission: Finding Common Causes

Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Asbury United Methodist Church, Allentown


June 9th Event
at Asbury UMC

June 9th Program
Mission Groups

Lehigh County Conference of Churches

Justice & Advocacy

Mission Groups and (Group Leaders)

These are the groups that formed at our June 9th gathering at Asbury UMC. Look for updates here, or contact the group leader for more information about an individual group. (See contact info. below for groups that have on-going activities.)

Habitat Build (Sam Torrence)

1. Building Community Building Homes
Potential Partners - Congregations and Colleges:

  • The Barn
  • Keneseth Israel
  • Faith - Emmaus
  • St. John's UCC
  • Asbury United Methodist
  • Jordan UCC
  • Muhlenberg College
  • DeSales University
2. Spring Build - 2011 (Blitz Build at Spring Break)

3. Need partners for raising funds, supporting build, supporting builders
$$ Needed   $$ Raised
Habitat$25,000   $25,000
The Barn   $25,000~$17,000
4. Organized Committee - Planning
    Newsletter - Communication
    Visits - Share

Contact: Sam Torrence storrence@epix.net

Intentional Community (Matt Helmuth)

Intentional Community is a fusion of the hippie communes of the second half of the 20th century with the monastic communities that have been present since the beginning of Christendom. "Intentional community" is a place where people come to participate in "the way" with each other (Acts 2:42-45ish) and to actively participate in fellowship with the community around them, to be the lamp on the stand, the leaven in the dough, the salt of the earth.

Matt tells about a conversation with a man he met at 6th and Liberty Streets in downtown Allentown: "He was a middle class white male. The first thing he said to me is, 'you seem to be well spoken, what brings you down here?' I explained to him what I was doing and where I was going to school. The second thing he said was, 'when you graduate, don't move into the outskirts of a city. Move in, because the neighborhoods need people to stop running away and start coming back.' That's intentional community."

Here are some resources on intentional community:

Contact: Matt Helmuth matthewh3@goshen.edu, Phone: 574-312-0214

Free N' Deed / Outreach Depot (Danell Fowler)

"Free N Deed" and "Outreach Depot" receive donations of clothing, furniture, household goods, and office equipment, for assistance to those who need help reestablishing their lives or rebuilding small businesses.

Representatives of these two organizations are beginning to explore how they can work more closely together. Anyone else who would like to volunteer at either place or learn more about their work may contact Danell Fowler.

Free N' Deed - 8th and Linden Streets, Allentown
(mission program of Resurrected Life Community Church)
Outreach Depot - 1866 Auburn Street, Bethlehem

Contact: Danell Fowler danell@wesleychurch.com

Homelessness and Hunger: Services (Richard Baumann)

- Getting to know people who are hungry and homeless
- First Issue of Homeless Newspaper has been published

(report not yet available)

Contact: via Justice & Advocacy Committee

Adopt an Inner-City School (Faye Vibbert)

*Contact School District and Schools
Also, United Way (c/o Em Finney)
    - wish lists through United Way
*Summer "Camp" - Counselors (8am-3pm)

*Aspires - middle and high school: Tutoring with Allen and Dieriff
    - Conference of Churches: Pinebrook - V.I.P. - Parents as Students, Life Skills

Adopt a school (partnering) -> tutoring, physical needs
    - After school: One-on-one mentoring, oncea a month activities, *food
    - Reading Buddies     - Parenting Classes - S.T.E.P. - 6 weeks
    - meal, kids activities, parents - lessons

After school in downtown schools
    - La Trinidad
One-on-one (K-1) - school day
Key to success
    - someone cares
    - have kids help with mission projects, kids helping

Other issues:
    - Security clearances
    - child abuse
    - T.B. shots
    - Safe Sanctuaries

*program/service already exists

Contact: via Justice & Advocacy Committee

Food and Faith Group (Suzanne Goodell)

1. Awareness and Education

  • Where does your food come from?
    • Movies: movie night once a month (series)
    • Book Club: Bible study with Pastors and Deacons
  • Lehigh Valley Food Co-Op
  • Buy Fresh Buy Local
  • Challenge everyone to keep track of $$ spent on food, then live on SNAP (food stamps) food budget
  • Fair Trade
2. Community Gardens
  • Builds community, provides food
  • Staten Island - Moravian gardens
  • Jordan UCC
  • Bally Mennonite
  • Extension Service - Penn State
  • Give out tomatoe plants to whole congregation (200 plants),
    then donate ripe tomatoes to New Bethany
  • Website - where to buy local
  • Front Yard Garden
  • Publicize Farmers Market
  • Feed Kids during summer - churches can partner with schools, and partner with city schools to garden
3. Advocacy
  • Farm Policy (U.S. Farm Bill)
  • No land available for gardening
  • Major justice issues:
    - Industrial Agriculture
    - Monsanto - Food Safety
  • School Lunch Programs and Funding, Nutrition
    (Pam Gallagher - ASD)
4. Food Pantries + Soup Kitchens = Outreach
Awareness and Education are also a form of Outreach

5. Access and Proper Distribution of Food

Contact: via Justice & Advocacy Committee

Last Updated: 6/20/10
Created: April 21, 2010