The Forward Together in Faith initiative will be empowered in part by a networking emphasis.
Pastor Jim Goodyear of Gloria Dei, Huntingdon Valley led a discussion about networking, and synod voting members viewed special videos about successful networking enterprises in synod churches and beyond. They also had fun tossing balls of yarn around to begin the art of makeshift tapestries.
“We are only limited in our ability to network by the limits of our imaginations,” said Pastor Jim Goodyear of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Huntingdon Valley, PA, speaking to the assembly. “And when I asked you earlier in this presentation how many of you have the ability to imagine most of your hands went up.”
Goodyear pointed to Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod networks already enjoying great success. The Welcome Church, a community without walls with the Rev. Violet C. Little as pastor, is using “Welcome Threads” to empower individuals to make use of their skills and discover self-esteem.
“I really like silk-screening,” said Jacqueline on video, one of Welcome Threads’ artisans. “It relaxes me.” In speaking of people like Jacqueline, the Welcome Threads artistic coordinator, Leslie Sudock, says simply. “We are trying to give everyone a chance to be productive and make things.” A number of the Welcome Threads talented individuals have gone on from raised self-esteem and discovering their skills to join other businesses or become entrepreneurs. It all started with networking.
“How do we do that? By moving around, getting out. It starts by saying ‘Hi’,” Goodyear said. He read from Luke 5, admonishing listeners to “push out into deep water. Be willing to fish all night. Throw your nets on the other side.” Think out of the box, he suggested.
Another network has its roots in Yardley, PA, with the interaction of Lutheran Church of the Resurrection there and God’s Love Lutheran Church in Newtown. Networking brought about the Food Insecurity Alliance.
“We have many goals in front of us,” explains Diane Casey of the Alliance. “You can do so much more together than if a church goes it alone.” And together means lots of networking. The Alliance participants now include schools, government entities, Scouts, a local mosque, the Roman Catholic Church, other denominations, civic organizations, businesses and non-profits.
“We need to know the issues that people are facing,” Casey said. That begins by sitting down with folks at the table. Goals of the Alliance have included feeding, advocacy, growing the faith of participants through study and prayer. “We are building many relationships. In the video Pastor Marissa Krey of God’s Love, Newtown, spoke of how the style and approach of the initiative had brought her congregation into participation.
— John Kahler