St. Andrew Spaghetti/Dessert Fund Raiser

temp2St. Andrew Lutheran Church, 1015 Four Mile Road, will host a spaghetti dinner and pie/cake auction to raise money toward attending the 2015 ELCA Youth Gathering in Detroit. St. Andrew would love to have members of its fellow FaithWorks congregations join them.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, March 14 with a sit-down dinner at 6:00. Tickets are $10.00 per adult, $7.50 per child age 4 to 10, free for kids under 3.

If you would like tickets or have any questions, please give Terri Nelson a call at 262-497-3953.

FaithWorks Food Pantry

by Pastor Dana

Our FaithWorks food pantry opened in early February. We had lots of people the first week for our grand opening. And while it slowed down a bit the second week, we are getting rave reviews by both our volunteers and our guests regarding the way guests “shop” for their own food rather than having things prepackaged for them. And I think it’s working – we are having lots of great conversations and are definitely getting to know our guests as we complete the forms and accompany them as they shop the pantry shelves.

pantryWe are also continuing to partner with individuals (both those within and outside of FaithWorks), and other congregations and businesses. Lots of people are bringing in food and a couple of other churches, businesses and other nonprofits are also doing food drives and helping with volunteers. It’s really exciting to see how so many people want to be a part of this. (Remember, we’re always looking for volunteers for both the hours we are open and for other stuff like shopping, stocking shelves, and gathering food from other sources. Please contact Margaret Robinson a if you’d like to help.) Pantry hours are Tuesdays from 1:00 to 3:00 and Thursday evenings from 6:00 to 8:00.

This pantry, which will have a very intentional focus on hospitality and building relationships, and is a wonderful opportunity to further connect with our neighborhood. And as I said earlier, I know that everyone connected with it –guests and volunteers alike – will see God there.

Food Pantry now open

spaghetti310The food pantry was busier than we expected on our first day – which is a good thing! We ask that you continue to think of the pantry as you do your grocery shopping. We definitely could use as much food as we can get.

Any donation is appreciated, but our real needs right now are cans of pasta and meat (like beef stew or beefaroni or spaghettios with meatballs – that type of thing). Thanks!

Ash Wednesday


The congregations of FaithWorks will unite at Atonement-Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 2915 Wright Avenue, for Ash Wednesday English language services February 18 at 10:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Coffee and kringle will be served after the morning service; Atonement-Our Savior’s will serve a soup supper at 5:30.

Parroquia Emaús celebrará Misa de Ceniza en español en la iglesia de Emaús, 1925 Summit Avenue, a las 6:30 p.m. La ceniza es simbolo de conversión. No se trata de hacer simples actos de mortificación, sino de lograr un cambio radical de la existencia humana, de la opción fundamental que da sentido a la vida, de las actitudes.

FaithWorks Prioritizes Homelessness

homelessFollowing recent developments with the Hospitality Center, the drop-in center housed at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, FaithWorks and other community partners have expressed interest in working on a long-term solution to provide shelter to the most vulnerable of Racine.
While recent donations have made it possible for the shelter to remain open through the winter, Father Kevin Stewart has communicated that this is only a short-term solution.

Food Pantry Prep

by Rev. Dana O’Brien

A representative from TEFAP has now inspected the FaithWorks food pantry. We expect to hear early this week whether we have been approved. (We hope to be approved, but apparently with the addition of the recently approved Salvation Army pantry, there are a lot of pantries in the immediate area.)

While we hope to be approved, we will proceed with getting everything ready and planning for an opening early to mid February. When we open, our hours will be:pantryA94

  • Tuesday, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Here are a couple of things coming up over the next couple of weeks:

Planning Meeting — Thursday, January 29 at 7:00 p.m. Again, how would Jesus operate a food pantry? This is our missional question. Anyone interested in applying Jesus’ teachings to our FaithWorks food pantry is invited to a planning meeting on Thursday, January 29 at 7:00 pm at Atonement. We’ll continue where we left off last time and talk about volunteers and hospitality and other stuff that relates to our upcoming opening. (And feel free to bring others who may feel called to this ministry.)

Souper Bowl Collection on Sunday February 1 at our FaithWorks congregations. To help kick off the opening of the food pantry, we will collect food and money at worship services during the weekend of February 1. (Many of our congregations have historically had a Souper Bowl food collection that day. This year our efforts will focus on the needs of our FaithWorks Food Pantry.)

Work Day on Tuesday, February 3 from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. We’ve got our current food supply already on shelves in the storage room, but we’ll need help setting up the pantry “shopping” area, cleaning and setting up the hospitality area, sorting and putting away food from the Super Bowl collection, and getting done all the other things needed for the pantry to open.

Volunteer Orientations on Tuesday, February 3 at 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Since we’re having a work day that day, it makes sense to also provide two short volunteer orientations on that day. We’ll do one at 3:00 p.m. and then again at 7:00 p.m. We hope all of our volunteers can make one of the orientations.

Volunteer Sign-Ups. We’ve got volunteer sign-up sheets out at Atonement – Our Savior’s. Joyce has sent out an email to people who formerly volunteered at the pantry when it was at Our Savior’s, and I’ll be sending a mass email out to lots of Atonement-Our Savior’s people. But we can use all the volunteers we can get, so if you or anyone you know would like to volunteer, please shoot me an email with your name, phone number, the day you want to volunteer, and how many times per month you’d like to volunteer.

Food Collections. This pantry is also a wonderful opportunity to partner with businesses, schools and various organizations to collect food. If you are a part of an organization or have an employer who might be interested in partnering with us in a food collection (or a work day or other volunteering opportunity) please contact me. We’d love to involve as many people as possible.

We are really excited about using this pantry as an opportunity to apply Jesus’ teachings in a real life setting. To live out Kingdom of God principles in a tangible way. Thanks to all of you for being a part of this!

FaithWorks Partnership Covenant 2015

The revised FaithWorks covenant below reflects the mission direction proposed by the Mission Council leaders of FaithWorks as we move forward. Merger has been removed from the covenant language of FaithWorks. The revised covenant will be presented for congregational approval at FaithWorks congregations’ annual meetings in January. A .pdf is available for download here.

Racine ELCA FaithWorks congregations commit to collaborative mission work among the most vulnerable in Racine. Bound by collective prayer, worship, study of scripture and anti-racism training, these congregations pledge to intentionally partner with and support one another and other faith and community organizations in order to meet in real and tangible ways the brokenness and challenges facing our community. Our common commitment is to seek God’s will and partner in God’s mission: God’s Work Our Hands

  • Those congregations entering into the FaithWorks commitment for 2015 pledge to:
     Active participation on the FW Mission Council (2 lay mission leaders and all clergy).
     Intentional anti-racism training for at least 75% of 2015 church council members, church staff, and key lay leaders.
     Active involvement in at least one food ministry, which includes other FaithWorks congregations and partners. (e.g. community meals, food pantries)
     Active involvement in a neighborhood/school outreach ministry with children during the academic year.
     Active involvement in a summer neighborhood camp program.
     Active listening to the community outside our doors.
     Active involvement in mission strategy to further define and expand the FW focus of mission in Racine. (e.g. health, homelessness, immigration, environment, peace)
     Financial support based on the number of full-time clergy positions as of February 1, 2015 ($2,000 per FTE on staff).
  • We embrace the following core beliefs:
     We exist for mission – God’s Mission. God’s Work Our Hands
     Our congregations must become examples of the appropriate use of resources so that God’s earth is not damaged, but replenished.

This covenant commits Atonement Our Savior‘s, Emaús, Emmaus, and St. Andrew to a fourth year of profound partnership following the congregational ratification. FaithWorks invites and welcomes other ELCA congregations who commit to the terms of this covenant to become FaithWorks partners.

This covenant is meant to be a living document. It may be modified by action of the Mission Council and ratification by a majority of the covenanting partner congregations.

The Right Time?

The Atonement Our Savior’s Joint Council decided at their November meeting to form a committee to begin the process of merging the two congregations into one. Because the FaithWorks partnership has for the time being tabled any movement that would merge all of the FaithWorks congregations, it was felt that the time was right to begin the process of forming a new congregation.

Atonement and Our Savior’s have reached the point where their formal separation serves little purpose. Someone expressed in the meeting that a merger will give the two congregations an opportunity to envision a new congregation and mission.

The process will take some time and will involve a variety of steps, including the adoption of a new constitution, seeking congregational input, and each congregation voting to merge. Because the process will be lengthy, it is hoped that the Our Savior’s building will sell prior to merger, and that other issues which may cause complication will have had time to resolve.

Counter-protests at St. Lucy’s, Horlick High

A press release from Westboro Baptist Cult this week claims that the hate group plans to picket at St. Lucy’s Catholic Church during afternoon mass on Sunday, December 7, and at Horlick High School, around dismissal time on Monday, December 8.

atpole908sCounter-protests are being organized by the Combat Veterans of America Motorcycle Association, Counter Protest Westboro in Racine, and Operation Screen Out Hate. “There will be no violence or response [to] the protesters. We will create a barricade with our backs to the protesters and block our kids from viewing these lunatics. We will hold large sheets and signs telling our kids how awesome they are and play loud positive music to drown out the chants,” organizer Beth Ashton Gilmore posted on the Operation Screen Out Hate Facebook page about the counter-protest at Horlick from 2:00 to 2:40 p.m. December 8.

Interested persons should be mindful of the importance of not engaging the Westboro clan directly. One of their favored fund raising tactics is to provoke an assault, then sue for damages. (They also generate revenue through visits to their web site, so there will be no link to it here.) Contact the counter-protest organizers through the links above.

What’s Next for FaithWorks

by Rev. Mary L. Janz

During the past four months, a number of indicators have pointed to a refocusing for FaithWorks. Co-champions, Pastor Mary and Pastor Steve, in one-on-one conversations with clergy and lay leaders, have observed that there is currently little buy-in for the initial idea of overall merger of the FaithWorks congregations. On the other hand, new conversations are surfacing regarding a different model for a proposed FaithWorks food pantry being proposed for the Atonement site. Further conversations around church/school connections are showing promise as Higher Expectations has invited us to the table to help launch a community-wide effort in these school partnerships. There have been conversations with synod and national leaders about next steps, and it is still to be determined whether there will be ELCA funding for FaithWorks for 2015.

140907-FWFF13Recognizing the shift that is taking place and not wanting to exhaust the FaithWorks funds in the meantime, Pastor Steve and Pastor Mary have made some temporary decisions regarding their roles. As of December 1, Pastor Steve will step down from his position, and the FaithWorks Bible studies will end for the time being. Pastor Mary will continue as the interim leader of FaithWorks through the end of January, and she has requested that her compensation and time be cut to half of what it has been since she officially assumed that role in mid August.

During the next couple of months it will be the responsibility of the FaithWorks Mission Council to write a revised covenant to be presented to congregations for approval at their January annual meetings. Work is currently in progress, and the goal is to reduce the length of the current covenant, making it so concise that it will fit on one printed page.

Initial conversation indicates that there will be a strong focus on doing mission collaboratively and that anti-racism training be an expectation of FaithWorks leaders and congregations. A draft will be presented to the FaithWorks Mission Council for review at their December 9 meeting.