Innovators have an innate ability to create something out of nothing; they have a passion for transformation, said the Rev Patricia Davenport, the synod’s Director for Evangelical Mission. Innovators are focused on meeting needs, solving problems. “Innovators are connected collaborators between church and community,” she said.
Davenport began by enumerating some of the qualities of innovators. Innovators have an innate ability to create something out of nothing; they have a passion for transformation. Innovators are focused on meeting needs, solving problems. “Innovators are connected collaborators between church and community,” she said.
She then mentioned various innovations within the synod.
- Diakonia graduates in the synod have been gathering innovative ideas and best practices.
- New Creation is a church in the Philadelphia Badlands, with much poverty, with issues of addiction and homelessness. New Creation goes under the bridges to meet people, feeding them and providing resources.
- In the Northeast Philadelphia Conference nine churches share one Confirmation class; they also have umbrella insurance as a group of churches.
- At Rhawnhurst Turning Point, young people are compelling us all to new creative things.
- Other examples of innovation mentioned are house church, Feast of Justice, Welcome Church, Main St. Ministries and Pub Theology (meeting outside the church walls, reaching unchurched people).
The Rev. Dana Heiserer of St. Petri-Hope, Philadelphia described Lydia’s Closet, a new ministry offering free clothing, including business suits and children’s clothes.
The Rev. Linda Manson of Living Gospel Ministries helps formerly incarcerated people find jobs, housing and their way back into the community. Living Gospel’s LIFE Ministry is also helping their families, and offering services including a computer lab for job seekers.
The Rev. Matt Lenahan, pastor of Zion Lutheran, Akron, PA in the Lower Susquehanna Synod, shared in a video that congregation’s adventure starting, Peter’s Porch, which started as a meal and distribution of groceries for persons in poverty. Peter’s Porch has spread to several other churches in the area, offering hospitality and community building. Zion offers Word and Sacrament on Saturdays in the parking lot, and started a .dinner church ministry last year. The goal is to connect with people who “are allergic to Sunday morning” worship, Lenahan said.
“Children of God, what is the Holy Spirit calling for you to do?” Pat challenged us in closing.
— Elise Seyfried