Living Gospel’s LIFE ministry with men and women with criminal convictions in their past will expand when it moves to new quarters at Trinity Lutheran in Germantown starting September 13.
The move to the historic Sauer House – where Christopher Sauer printed the first Lutheran bible’s in the US – is made possible by a $10,000 grant from the Synod’s Forward Together in Faith campaign. Trinity is letting Living Gospel use its space rent free; the grant will cover estimated utility costs for the first year.
“Living Gospel’s ministry helping these returning citizens learn to function again in society and offering resume and job search assistance, along with Bible study and worship, is the kind of innovation we want to encourage through Forward Together in Faith,” said Bishop Claire Burkat.
The move “means we will have the ability to operate for longer hours, which means that we can help more people,” said the Rev. Linda Manson, mission developer at Living Gospel. Currently, the ministry has limited hours at the Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion in Center City.
“We’ll also have more exposure to a neighborhood that desperately needs the services we offer,” Manson added. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to be part of the community and to be a resource for our Synod.”
Many congregations may have members or neighbors who are confronted with the challenges facing Americans with a criminal conviction in their past, and can be referred to Living Gospel, Manson said.
At Trinity, Manson will be able, for the first time, to have a private office to counsel individuals, as well as a large room to host life-skills and job search workshops.
The new location will allow Manson to resume Bible study, which was curtailed because there was not enough time available at the present location. Living Gospel is also a site for The Benefits Bank, which allows citizens to apply for a number of state and federal benefits at once, reducing the red-tape that often faces people in poverty.