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Transforming through Faithful Collaboration: Grant in Action!

The following piece of writing was shared from Pastor Debbie McAllister about the work happening in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties, where four ELCA Churches are coming together for collaborative ministry. This information was shared in their September newsletter.

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“Is this not the fast that I choose… to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house…?” (Isaiah 58:6-7)


Greetings to all from Faith Lutheran Church in Murphys!


Service within the community and in the world is integral to Faith’s identity as a community in Christ. The Murphys Senior Center on our campus serves seniors with opportunities for exercise classes, social activities, weekly lunches, and monthly speakers. Faith gives 2% of the regular offerings to the Food Pantry on our campus, which serves anyone in need of food. In addition, Faith gives another 2% of offerings to ELCA World Hunger.

For God’s Work; Our Hands Day of Service in the fall, Faith has participated in the Murphys CROP Hunger Walk, together with First Congregational Church in Murphys, St. Clare of Assisi Episcopal Church in Avery, and Union Congregational Church in Angels Camp. Each year Faith also hosts one of the Resource Connection’s Produce Days in our parking lot, with many volunteers helping to hand out fresh produce. Over the years, Faith has contributed hundreds of gift boxes to Operation Christmas Child, and has supported the Resource Connection’s annual Santa’s Express.


Faith was a part of the Calaveras County Homelessness Task Force before it was halted in the pandemic, and we assisted in the point-in-time count of the homeless in

2019. From our involvement in that task force, we made connections that led us to renovating the old “Mitchler house on our property (the former sanctuary, then child care center, then thrift store) into a residence, the “Home for HOPE.” The renovations were completed in May of this year, and two clients in Sierra HOPE’s permanent supportive housing program are currently housed in the home. Sierra HOPE is the only organization in Calaveras County administering programs for the homeless, and we are privileged to be in partnership with them.


Hello from Mountain Ranch Lutheran Church!


Our congregation has been participating in “God’s Work, Our Hands” day of service for several years now. Our first year was 2016, when we ran the snack booth for the Mountain Ranch community observance of the first anniversary of the Butte Fire, which burned through Calaveras County in September 2015, and the reopening of the ball park, which was used by the fire crews during the Butte Fire. Another year we repainted the interior of the Mountain Ranch Food Pantry. Another year we helped spread wood chips in Mountain Ranch Park as they renovated some of the landscaping. This year we will help with Produce Day at the Resource Connection Food Bank in San Andreas.


Because homelessness in our area was exacerbated by the Butte Fire, our congregation has heart for the homeless and has been a part of the Calaveras County Homelessness Task Force since its inception. We assisted with the point-in-time homeless count in 2019.

That same year, Mountain Ranch Lutheran’s shower ministry was begun. The church building was originally a home, and there is a shower in the bathroom. This ministry offers free use of the shower for anyone who needs it. The shower is open every Wednesday throughout the year, serving about 1-4 people per week, hosted by members of the congregation, with coffee and friendly conversation also on hand!



Greetings from Mount Calvary Lutheran Church!


Over the years, we at Mount Calvary have been able to build several partnerships with other organizations in order to share the love of God throughout the world. It has been a joy to walk beside so many who look out for the needs of those who are unemployed, underemployed, or experiencing poverty. We work to be God’s Hands in all we do, but for the special day of God’s Work, Our Hands we write letters of encouragement to our military service people. We feel it is critical that they understand how thankful we are for their sacrifices in service.


Interfaith Social Services

At Mount Calvary we also support Interfaith Social Services for Tuolumne County. Interfaith is a community service organization founded in 1988. Interfaith is owned and operated by 15 member churches and is staffed by nearly 250 volunteers. Food, clothing and personal services are now provided to more than 700 Tuolumne County families every month. As one of the member churches we help to provide financial support, we donate food and needed materials for food distribution, several of our members volunteer on site and we help in any way we can as the need comes up.


The Mumeya Parish


Mt. Calvary partners with two entities in Rwanda to share God’s love and contribute to enhanced life quality. We help support the Mumeya Parish, made up of three congregations in a rural area. The congregations are growing, and one has added a preschool and elementary school. Their intent is to be entirely self-supporting, but they still appreciate help, as most members there don’t have high-paying jobs.


Once a year, we gather a special offering for the Rwamagana Leaders School, a secondary school located in the city of Rwamagana. Many communities do not have schools which provide above a sixth-grade education, so providing students with the knowledge and skills for employment or college is essential. In addition to their studies, students work in the garden and tending cows and chickens to grow food that they then help prepare for the group.


ATCAA

Twice a month we are a food distribution center for ATCAA, Amador Tuolumne Community Action Agency. Several of our member help to pick-up, unload, distribute, and then take the undistributed food on to others in need. ATCAA’s mission is:

· To help individuals in Amador and Tuolumne Counties toward self‒sufficiency.

· To support local residents in becoming involved and contributing members of our community.

· To promote family and other supportive environments so that children, youth and elders can achieve their maximum potential.

· And, finally, to form partnerships and coalitions within the community to meet these needs.

Those at Mount Calvary feel this is an important ministry and we love to watch our supplies diminish as families are fed.


Greetings from Mountain Lutheran Church in Groveland!


Sunday after Sunday, we meet for Worship and Fellowship, all vaccinated, with modified Covid precautions in place and the prevailing subject is "When will we finally get back to normal. What is NORMAL? It is so boring...."


On 3 Sundays in August the scripture lessons were about human responses to physical and spiritual food and drink. I felt spoken to and want to try and share:

  • On August 8 in our first lesson, we hear the angel of the Lord say to Elijah: "Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you" (1 King 19:4-8). That same Sunday we read what Paul told the Ephesians "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving

  • Covid issues and Covid life styles or not, we need a balanced structure of food, drink and rest in our daily lives! We need someone - an angel- to touch us, bring us food and water and encourage us to go on! This way we will be strengthened for the long desert walk (through Covid Country) leading to "the Mount of God".

  • We can, with God's help, be an angel to others.! We can get up early in the morning, before heat and smoke seem overwhelming, prepare food to share, get in touch with that sick or sad person on our mind. We can PRAY = speak and listen to God regularly. We can be "kindhearted imitators of God" when interacting in Council meeting! We can be open minded, not just frustrated, when we follow the almost daily changing news about Covid management. We can act with common sense implementing Covid precautions in our life styles for the good of All!

  • We CAN look forward with hope and awareness of the Gospel: Jesus says in John 6:35-41 "I am the bread of life.... whoever eats of this bread will live forever..."

With great hope I look forward to the occasion (soon?), when our 4 congregations can get together in person and joyfully celebrate food, drink, restful inspiration

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