Our Synod’s newest faith community, Living Gospel Ministries, recently began worshipping. “I am excited about the fact that we are actually becoming a worshipping community,” says Pastor Linda Manson. “I believe that adding this aspect will only increase the ways in which we are able to serve our community.”
Living Gospel’s main focus is to accompany and offer resources to more than 35,000 people who return to Philadelphia from incarceration each year, and the many more who are connected to the criminal justice system. This includes those returning from incarceration, individuals living in our communities with a criminal conviction, and the families of those with convictions. Workshops, a resource center, support groups, Bible studies, worship services and individual empowerment to support this population are many of the resources it offers.
As a long-time servant of people involved with the criminal justice system, Manson knows the challenges faced by the formerly incarcerated. The ministry got started when the Synod recognized a need and knew about Mason’s previous professional experience and her passion for social justice. This seemed to be the spark needed to begin fanning the flame of what is referred to as L.I.F.E. Ministry (Living Intentionally For Empowerment) at Living Gospel Ministries.
The ELCA is a partner in the ministry, and Holy Communion, Philadelphia has lent initial space for the ministry.
Linda Manson shared with us how things are going at Living Gospel Ministries.
Where do you see God at work?
Through the outpouring of support – we have five core volunteers, a strong partnership with Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion, interns from Community College of Philadelphia—and through the newly started worship and Bible studies.
How can people get involved?
We are actively recruiting volunteers for the L.I.F.E. Ministry as mentors and intake clerks. We recently began to seek assistance with grant writing (specific to serving the population connected to the criminal justice system). Financial support is also needed and contributions can be made on our web page at livinggospel.wix.com/life. Check us out on facebook: LIFE at Living Gospel.
What would be your vision for this ministry in 10 years
My hopes for Living Gospel and the L.I.F.E. Ministry are manifold. I would like to see the congregation grow and become self-sustaining while being firmly grounded in a mission which serves the wider community and meets the needs of those who are often overlooked.