Congregations for Change: We Are Church Together

Date posted: Friday 30 January 2015

by Vernita Kennen


Congregations for Change: We Are Church Together.This was the theme of the recent ELCA Hunger Leaders’ Gathering in San Francisco which I attended on behalf of the Saint Paul Area Synod. The 100+ hunger leaders from across the ELCA spent Saturday morning in San Francisco and Oakland visiting congregations in the urban core and learning about their programming and their neighborhoods. (Another group took part in the Night Ministry program over Friday night.)


The visits and walks were designed to remind us that “meaningful congregational ministry begins with the people, place and community in which the congregation is located. To truly be congregations for change, we need to be firmly rooted as congregations in our communities. It can be easy to identify hunger 'over there', but what about here in the neighborhoods where we live and worship?"


We self-selected our visits from a list of seven congregations; each had provided us with information about their ministry plus their planned walks in their neighborhoods. They varied from large older churches to new ministries, many in changing neighborhoods.


My husband Dale and I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for nearly two decades, twenty years ago. The ELCA Hunger Leaders' Gathering was a wonderful opportunity for us to visit congregations and neighborhoods we had known but which have undergone much change. I’ll be eager to share with you the stories of St. Francis Lutheran and Santa Maria y Santa Marta/St. Mary and Martha in future blogs. We also discovered new ways to “walk our own church neighborhoods” with new eyes. Stay tuned...