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“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul

and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the

second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. ’All the Law and the Prophets hang

on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22:36-­‐40

 

Good Shepherd’s Social Justice ministry is guided by the interaction between Jesus and the scribe in Matthew 22; the commandment to love God and neighbor above all else. But, who is this neighbor, and how are we to love him/her? We can follow Jesus lead. He spent his ministry seeking to bring the marginalized outsider in, to provide for basic needs by feeding the hungry and healing the sick, to challenge the purity laws and say that all people are entitled to dignity, acceptance and love.

So, who is our neighbor? Certainly it is the person living next door, but it is also the person living in her car who eats at the Salvation Army, the inmate at the Washington State prison in Shelton, the refugee from the Syrian conflict, or the victim of the recent earthquake in Nepal. God has given us a world of neighbors to love. We share that love through a variety of acts of charity and justice. Here are a few from the year just past:

For neighbors nearby:

  • We grew hundreds of pounds of vegetables, and gave thousands of dollars to the Thurston County Food Bank
  • We prepared and served meals at the Salvation Army and the Union Gospel Mission
  • We provided tutoring for middle school students in our community who struggle academically
  • We worshiped with inmates at the Washington State prison in Shelton
  • We built a mountain of toilet paper in the narthex tall enough to reach the ceiling for the YWCA’s Other Bank
  • We advocated to the Washington State Legislature through FAN WA to bring just laws to benefit fellow citizens, especially those lacking political power
  • We provided socks, mittens, hats and underwear to low income children in local schools through the Shirley Traunum Mitten Tree

For neighbors far away:

  • We participated in the Bread for the World Offering of Letters, asking our elected decision makers to strengthen foreign aid to work better for people who are poor
  • We participated in the Thurston County CROP Walk against hunger
  • We served, and sold fair trade coffee, tea and chocolate through our relationships with Lutheran World Relief, Equal Exchange and SERRV
  • The Piece Corps assembled hundreds of quilts to be sent to Lutheran World Relief for distribution to brothers and sisters around in the world in desperate need
  • We assembled school kits, so children could attend school; personal care kits for people who may have lost everything in a natural disaster, or war; and baby care kits, given in relief efforts, or as part of LWR health care initiatives
  • We provided scholarships for students at Oshigambo Lutheran High School in Namibia
  • Gifts of Hope alternative Christmas gifting

In addition to these hands-­‐on activities, Good Shepherd distributed more than $13,000 to organizations serving global needs and $10,600 for local organizations. The sources of these funds were 1.5% of the general fund offerings, and income growth of the Local Concerns Endowment Fund.

If you would like to learn more about our Social Justice Ministry, please contact Darcy Huffman at (360) 357-3554, ext 128.