Serving Our Neighbors (SON)
Christ Lutheran Church has a rich tradition of giving to those beyond our walls. Over the decades we have shared our time, our talents, and our treasure in order to serve our neighbors, living into our vision of being a faith community with no walls. This spring our financial donations will be dispersed in a unique way. We are blessed to have an unexpected surplus due to generous offerings and COVID-19 PPP debt forgiveness. We decided to invite each adult active in our congregation to designate $200 from this surplus to help those in need. We will celebrate our total of $30,000 of giving at our Pentecost service on May 23. For more information on our SON (Serving Our Neighbors) initiative, click HERE.
Christ Lutheran Church Food Pantry
Food scarcity is an issue for many families in the District of Columbia. Church members and friends donate non-perishable food and personal hygiene and household cleaning products via a bin by the back door of the church. At the end of each month, we purchase additional needed items, and bag and deliver these products to residents in three of Housing Up’s transitional and supportive apartment buildings. We welcome in-kind or cash donations and volunteers of all ages. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the church office if you would like to get involved.
Many CLC members are involved in our Racial Equity Team. In 2018-19, we participated in MOSAIX, a national faith-based movement to build healthy multi-ethnic and economically diverse church communities. We offer learning opportunities through: discussion of podcasts like “Seeing White”, or books like Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman and Dear Church by Lenny Duncan; viewing movies like Emmanuel and Just Mercy; and participating in Multi-Ethnic Conversations. We celebrated DC history and culture through a walking tour of the U Street Corridor known as Black Broadway. We also coordinated with other faith communities to sponsor vigils in 2020 in support of “Black Lives Matter.” Several members are participating in a small dialogue group around racial disparities and others are participating in a small group faith-based discussion series on race and racism called “Sacred Ground,” sponsored by the Episcopal Church.
Alongside other churches in the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), CLC members participate in advocacy alerts on behalf of peacemaking, hospitality to strangers, care for creation, and concern for people living in poverty and struggling with hunger and disease. To learn about how you can advocate for justice, click here.
Christ Lutheran is always looking to partner with local agencies and residents to serve others. Given that blood and blood products have been in short supply during the COVID-19 public health emergency, we partnered with Children’s National Medical Center to hold a blood drive at the church. Over 20 units of blood were donated by neighbors and church members.
CLC’s Recent History of Social Ministry
Housing Up (formerly Transitional Housing Corporation) was founded by volunteers in 1990 using a bequest of $100,000 given to CLC. Housing Up was originally a partnership of Christ Lutheran Church, Samaritan Ministries of Greater Washington and Community Family Life Services but is now an independent nonprofit. For 25 years the organization had its headquarters in the small house next to the church that previously housed the pastor. Today Housing Up provides housing and comprehensive support services to over 800 formerly homeless and at-risk families so that they can transform their own lives, and has developed or will develop more than 800 units of affordable housing. Members of Christ Lutheran have served on the board and volunteered through the Adopt-an-Apartment Program (AAP). CLC currently provides food deliveries to three of the Housing Up communities and supports this vital ministry with our prayers.
To get involved in advocacy or as a volunteer, see: https://housingup.org/ending-homelessness/take-action/
Lutheran GrACE (Growing AIDS Compassion Everywhere)
In 2011, CLC and 25 Lutheran (and other denomination) church members and clergy from DC and the surrounding area with support from Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area (LSS/NCA) formed an HIV stigma reduction initiative called Lutheran GrACE (GRowing AIDS Compassion Everywhere). Lutheran GrACE sponsored a Global Village Booth at the International AIDS Conference, held in Washington, D.C in 2012. Lutheran GrACE demonstrated to the over 20,000 conference multi-national delegates and members of the participating churches that faith communities can be welcoming of persons affected by or living with HIV. In 2014, Lutheran GrACE, and LSS/NCA sponsored 2 young adults living with HIV to join the ELCA Youth Delegation to the 2014 International AIDS Conference in Melbourne. Continuing the collaboration with LSS/NCA, Lutheran GrACE members worked with CLC youth church members and youth living with HIV to develop a youth-lead stigma reduction program that was presented to several area churches in 2016 and 2017.
God’s People Are Tested
In 2010, CLC initiated and gathered support from 12 other DC churches in a stigma reduction and community education program called the “God’s People are Tested” campaign that culminated in an HIV testing day at two of the sponsoring churches.
Four Decades of Charity Yard Sales
For 40 years beginning in 1981, CLC held multi-family yard sales that yielded over $900,000, 100% of which was donated to charity. Church and community came together to recycle, reuse and share furniture, clothing, household items, books, jewelry, toys and more in a massive weekend event that involved hundreds of volunteer hours. In addition to monies donated, furniture donated to the yard sale was used to furnish apartments for both Housing Up and the Lutheran Social Services Refugee Resettlement program. Yard Sale proceeds were donated to ministries we have actively served alongside—notably Housing Up, Samaritan Ministry, and Lutheran Social Services.
Many other beneficiaries were recommended by members who were actively engaged in those ministries. To name just a few examples, Cheryl Beversdorf’s work with veterans led to our support for several veterans’ organizations and Rudel Simon’s connections with his home country led to our providing school supplies in rural Haiti. In a number of cases, CLC members have joined in offering personal donations in addition to Yard Sale proceeds, as has been the case with The Rwanda School Project, where member Hetty Irmer served on the board, and Project Future Institute, founded by member Howard Bell to empower at-risk students through science and mathematics. Inspired by Mark Rohrbaugh’s leadership, CLC not only supported Reconciling Works financially through the Yard Sale proceeds, but also hosted meetings to welcome the LGBTQIA+ community and support outreach and education for congregations on their Reconciling in Christ (RIC) journey.
After each Yard Sale, gleaners arrived–nonprofit thrift shops that selected left-over goods for re-sale and charitable organizations that distributed left-over goods to those in need. For a list of Yard Sale beneficiaries over the years, click HERE. Video slideshows of some yard sales are available HERE.