Lent can be a season filled with paradox, which may in fact seem fitting as the Bible relies heavily on meanings that are revealed through incongruities.
As we engage with our community partners for Lent, we are asking them to submit prayer requests that represent the journeys of their clients and staff. These prayers will be included in our Prayer Vigil during Holy Week.
Professionals often sacrifice much to walk along side those who have experienced, trauma, loss, hardship, violence, prolonged periods of great stress, and more. However, many of our community's outreach representatives and volunteers will be the first to share that they are daily inspired by the stories of the same clients who have experienced life's challenges and later used their trials to support others who are traversing similar treacherous paths. Those with "lived experience" can be highly sensitive and aware of hidden potential and hope in the midst of pain or difficulty. Surely, blanket statements need not be made about the necessity of trials to build character or grit. Perhaps we can say that through grace, God can often find ways for us to be a blessing. Once again we are reminded, that in Christ, there is no us or them.
Saint Augustine of Hippo prayed these words:
God of our life,
there are days when the burdens we carry chafe our shoulders and weigh us down; when the road seems dreary and endless, the skies gray and threatening; when our lives have no music in them, and our hearts are lonely,
and our souls have lost their courage.
Flood the path with light,
turn our eyes to where the skies are full of promise; tune our hearts to brave music;
give us the sense of comradeship
with heroes and saints of every age;
and so quicken our spirits
that we may be able to encourage the souls of all who journey with us on the road of life,
to your honor and glory.
Let my soul take refuge. Amen.
St. Augustine of Hippo
On this Lenten journey, may the Holy Spirit be present with each of us as we engage in conversations that open us up to listening for brave music, companionship, and love.
This is a vision board
DO YOU HAVE A DREAM?
On the celebration of Dr. King's birthday we recall his infamous words. Do you suppose he might have had a Vision Board similar to the one pictured above?
The concept is not new, even Oprah endorsed the practice. Displaying one's vision for the future was perhaps first accomplished by cave dwellers who documented on cave walls what they hoped their future would look like. While the new year is often a time to make resolutions, perhaps January 2018 can be a time to creatively identify those qualities that lead to fulfillment of dreams, hopes and aspirations...perhaps for more than just ourselves.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was known for many inspirational quotes, among them,
"Life's persistent and urgent question is 'What are you doing for others?'"
WHAT might we act upon from our vision board that allows us to realize Dr. King's dream, as well as our own?
HOW might our daily routines allow us to
WHERE is there room in our routines at work, at church, and in our community to be agents of change, with VISION.
An individual has not started living until one can rise above the narrow confines of individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. MLK, Jr.
With divine inspiration and dedication to God's greater good in our lives and in the life of our city, let us love one another as God has loved us.
Our Advent devotions this season are from a collection entitled Sacred Space. I was taken with this title because we use this expression frequently in the context of our prayers during our Assistance Hours. When individuals share their concerns about food, clothing, shelter, illness, family, etc., we thank God for being present in,"this sacred space," where we remind one another that God is listening, holding us close, and sending us forward with the hope of Christ.
Resourcing opportunities at Trinity English have expanded greatly this year. On Mondays and Fridays our Partners from United Way, Bright Point and Park Center are present to provide assessments to persons seeking permanent supportive housing through The Coordinated Entry Program. On Tuesdays and Thursdays during Trinity English's Assistance Hours, The Network for Safe Families is in our building to meet with parents and grandparents to help establish connections with community partners as families get back on track. Our volunteers such as Mary McDonald, Bob Gasser and others are also helping to listen, pray and support persons in transition. The Open Doors volunteers on Wayne Street also provide a warm welcome to passers by to rest, pray, or take a quiet break. Our goal is to create Sacred Safe Space for every person who enters our building.
Angel Tree 2018
Please join us this year as we collect money to provide new beds and bedding for the Rescue Mission. To give towards the Angel Tree Ministry, click here.
Can you identify your Sacred Space? We pray your advent is filled with opportunities to reflect, rejoice, and be renewed while we wait and watch as Jesus fills our hearts, and spaces.
A Queio Apache Prayer
Looking behind, I am filled with gratitude.
Looking forward, I am filled with vision.
Looking upwards, I am filled with strength.
Looking within, I discover peace.
FOOD FOR THE MIND
Turning the page on a calendar is a time when we are reminded to acknowledge our blessings, and give thanks for God’s impact on our lives. OCTOBER marked our first opportunity to sponsor the Out of the Darkness Walk in Headwaters Park. Thousands of participants, including Trinity’s volunteers, walked side by side with survivors of family and friends who died by suicide. Discussions and community events such as this provide a starting point for removing stigma from conversations about mental illness. We are called to create safe spaces and accompany all of God’s people, even into dark places where depression, anxiety and hopelessness can seem overwhelming.
Thank you, God,
For illuminating our lives and enabling us to be beacons of your love,
especially when shadows dim the path toward hope.
SUSTENANCE FOR THE BODY
Thanksgiving can be our prompt to promote healthy eating practices- or not! Please consider donating to our Holiday Meal Drive this month as we feed members and neighbors with nutritious meals. Envelopes and online opportunities are provided for giving.
We will be engaging with nationally known speakers and local professionals to discuss the often difficult topics of mental and behavioral health, the church’s role in supporting and advocating for persons with mental illness, and creating opportunities for developing mental health ministries in congregations.
We welcome your participation in Trinity's City Ministry events. Please be aware of upcoming partnership opportunities for Angel Tree Donations, our Grandmothers Support Group and Charis House Companionship Ministry.
In 2009, following innovative renovations, an alley on Washington Boulevard became a welcoming entrance to one of Fort Wayne's largest churches in the heart of the city. When form truly blended with function, the doors to Trinity English Lutheran Church were opened to many in the city's streets and suburbs who were grappling with life's challenges. This was at a time when Fort Wayne's downtown infrastructure was undergoing significant revitalization.
Over time, more people ventured into Trinity's bright open spaces where personal stories were shared with pastors and lay leaders, access to community resources became a bit more attainable, and with prayer as an anchor, trusting relationships evolved. Trinity English's Caring Ministries, directed by Pastor Kathleen Haller, encompassed members and neighbors, clergy and staff, employed and unemployed, thriving and struggling, affiliated and alone, all loved by God and all called to love. Divisions between us and them continued to diminish as we appreciated one another as mutual travelers on the journey.
Opportunities to engage with community partners noticeably increased and intensified as we worked to connect persons experiencing life challenges with sustainable support systems. We decided to see if our community of faith at Trinity English could engage more directly with persons in transition, to accompany and support one another with the hope of Christ, via a dedicated City Ministry.
Here, in the heart of Fort Wayne, IN with a Priesthood of All Believers;
Now, when our city is asking communities of faith to take a more prominent leadership role in advocating for our more vulnerable, especially those living with undiagnosed mental illness, poverty, homelessness, trauma, unemployment, and underemployment, let's take one more step forward as partners in Christ, prepared to follow where God is leading.
JaneT JoRdan Altmeyer
Building a foundation of supportive relationships in The City of Churches, moving forward as a community bolstered by faith, driven by purpose, inspired by Christ's love.