Housing: Through a separate 501c-3 non-profit corporation (The Nelson Memorial Apartments, Inc.) set up by church members in the 1970s, members of our congregation (on an all volunteer basis) oversee nine units of affordable housing and caring for tenants and the properties. Through this ministry we support asylum seekers, vulnerable senior citizens, and others in need of affordable housing.
Our Justice and Service Team regularly plans events to serve the local community, region, and world. Here are examples:
Food: We regularly contribute to local food pantries and keep an informal one in our own building.
Refugee Support: We have a 15 person team that is partnering with two other Lutheran congregations to resettle refugee families in partnership with Ascentria Care Alliance. Also, we collect personal care items that are then shared with resettled refugees and others.
Summer Habitat for Humanity Build in El Salvador: Roughly every other summer, a First Lutheran team travels to El Salvador to participate in a build. During the trip, team members engage in rigorous work, and foster relationships through a local Salvadoran Lutheran congregation. Youth aged 16 and older may participate if accompanied by a parent.
The intersection of faith and life. We are continually seeking to foster conversations on relevant issues and address the intersection of faith and the complexities in daily life. In the Spring of 2023, a group of us will be watching and discussing the 1619 Project docuseries being shown on Hulu.
Flash Events: We regularly organize “flash events” held after Sunday worship services. Borrowing from the idea of “flash mobs” where people come together for a specific purpose and then quickly disperse, at our “flash events” children, youth, and adults are invited to engage in a service project as they leave worship. Through these events we have:
- Prepared lunches for guests of the Waltham Community Day Center.
- Packed Cold Weather Kits and Valentine’s Day Goodie Bags for homeless persons in our community.
- Prepared blankets and personal care kits shared with refugees and others through our partnership with Lutheran World Relief.
- Written Christmas cards to women and children in detention centers
Engaging Children: We also seek opportunities for engaging children. Examples include:
- Having children and youth support local and national feeding programs through Project Bread’s Walk for Hunger.
- Having children share in the support of the Waltham Fields Community Farms Outreach Market
- Each July welcome neighborhood children and youth to our one-week vacation Bible school program where we provided a robust program, lunch and snack, Bible stories and engagement in issues of justice … all at no charge to the participants.
Financial Support: Through our annual budget, we financially support the following local organizations: Chaplains on the Way, Healthy Waltham, The Waltham Alliance to Create Housing, The Waltham Community Day Center, Waltham Fields Community Fields, The Waltham Farmer’s Market, and The Waltham Family School. We also support Lutheran World Hunger, Lutheran Disaster Relief, and Lutheran Refugee and Immigration programs.