When I think of sacred spaces, images of candles, silence, or breathtaking music come to mind. I don't usually think of children screaming, simple concrete floors, dancing, and sweltering heat. I don't usually think about walking along dirt roads dodging motorcycles, auto rickshaws and cows at the entrance to a school. However, on February 1, 2012, I was overwhelmed with the presence of God as I entered Park Town School in the middle of the chaos and traffic of Chennai, India. As our group walked into the school, a drum announced our arrival and each member of our group was greeted with a huge flower garland around our necks. Children chanted songs of welcome as we climbed the steps of the school and each child reached out their hands in delight saying, "Hello, how are you... what is your name?"
This school for children living on the streets in Chennai grew out of the ministry of a local Indian Lutheran Church. All of the teachers at the school are highly educated members of the church, and this is their ministry among the most vulnerable children in the city. As we walked around the classrooms, talked with the childre, and saw their science projects, each member of our group sensed, in different ways, what a special place this was. God met us in this foreign place --not in silence--but through boisterous interaction with the children and in hearing about the teachers' ministry to these poor children. God continues to surpise each one of us and meet us in unexpected places.
- Pastor Beth Warpmaeker
Learn more about the educational and advocacy efforts of Bread for the World on Sunday, March 10. Stop by our table in the Gallery.
On Sunday, March 17, you will have the opportunity to write a letter to our nation's leaders about ending hunger at home and abroad. Participate in an "offering of letters" on March 17 in the Gallery between worship services. Envelopes, paper, stamps and addresses will be provided.
All adults are invited to participate in the 30 Hour Famine in March with the youth. The famine raises awareness and funds to be given to the World Vision programs around the world that build water wells, fight malaria and provide food to those who are hungry.
What can one person possibly do? Plan to participate in one or more ways to end hunger:
Iverson Hall will be buzzing this Saturday. Women of all ages will come together in Iverson Hall from 9:30 am to 1:00 pm for one big DAY OF SERVICE. We'll be tying quilts, rolling bandages, and assembling Newborn, Hospice and Fabric Kits for Global Health Ministries.
We'll have lunch together and hear from local mission partner Metro Homeless Youth Services, a ministry of Lutheran Social Services.
In 1997 members of Zion Lutheran Church purchased one of the most crime-ridden buildings in south Minneapolis and named it ZOOM (Zion Originated Outreach Ministry). The 22-unit building was transformed into a program that serves families experiencing homelessness in a transitional housing program, families who are moving from welfare to work, and market rate housing for working families. Bethlehem was one of the partner churches that helped make this transformation happen. Today, ZOOM House continues to be one of our mission partners.
Thrivent Financial has given a matching grant up to $1,200 to Starfish, the partnership ministry of Judson Baptist and Bethlehem Lutheran, to assist our neighbors who are experiencing financial distress. Your gift to Starfish during October and November will count toward this match. $2,400 could buy 24 bus cards and 24 food cards which would ease the stress of a single person or family. Money may also help a family stay in their home during a crisis. During October and November, Starfish is hosting a virtual tea. Donate here, Thank you for your generosity in support of this powerful ministry.