“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.”
Through our social justice ministries, we strive to follow Jesus’ concern for the vulnerable through faithful stewardship of all we have been given, including our time, our talents and our treasure. Following are some of our many activities in the past year.
Locally we supported the Thurston County Food Bank; the YWCA Other Bank; the Salvation Army Meal Program; Living Stones Prison Ministry; Pizza Klatch, a support for local GLBTQ+ youth; and CIELO Education Center for Latinos, which now shares our building. Our contributions included volunteer time, as well in-kind and monetary gifts. During Epiphany we honored the birth of Jesus with Gifts for the Child, by giving baby food, diapers, clothing and other needed items in a child-focused worship service. The same month we built a tower that reached to the ceiling of the Narthex with a 4-month supply of toilet paper for the Other Bank. In April we contributed new and used children’s books to Well Read, Well Fed, a joint project of the Thurston Country Food Bank and South Sound Reading Foundation. A partnership with Cielo and the Thurston County Food Bank has resulted in location of a monthly satellite food bank to meet the needs of Spanish speakers at Good Shepherd.
Lutheran World Relief received our support through the construction of hundreds of quilts, school kits and baby care kits. Our sale of Fair Trade coffee, tea, chocolate and craft items is an outgrowth of our relationship with Lutheran World Relief, as well. This project, which provides sustainable incomes for small farmers and artisans resulted in sales of $3,383 in the past year. Our most financially significant project with Lutheran World Relief is the Women’s Agriculture Project in the Bihar state of India, made possible through a bequest from Chuck and Marlene Heimbigner. During the month of April, Good Shepherd focused education on India. We heard from Darcy Huffman, who traveled with LWR to Bihar to learn more about the project, and expanded our knowledge of that country with an intergenerational education event at the end of the month.
Globally we continued our strong support for ELCA World Hunger through benevolence distributions, regular giving on the part of individual members, and participation in Good Gifts and Buck-a-Chick fundraisers during Advent and Lent.
A longstanding policy designates 3% of general fund offerings to be distributed to organizations involved in works of mercy and justice. Annual proceeds from growth of our Local and World Concerns Endowment Funds are distributed at the same time. At a November 2017 meeting, $80,000 was distributed from these sources.
We continued to raise our voices to advocate for vulnerable neighbors near and far, writing letters in our annual Bread for the World Offering of Letters, and supporting the work of the Faith Action Network. We also advocated with our feet, marching in solidarity with our LGBTQ+ neighbors in the annual Pride Parade.
Finally, in 2017 we paid the second installment of a 3-year $100,000 pledge to Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS). It provides major funding for the LIRS Immigrant and Refugee Academy, Empowering Immigrants and Refugees to Find a Common Voice.
To learn more about our Social Justice team, contact Beth Holmes at 360-357-3554.