The Social Ministry opportunities listed below are the major areas of ministry currently taking place at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. The list, however, is not all inclusive. In addition to those areas noted, there are countless other volunteer outreach efforts; some transpire silently with regularity, and many other ministries are immediate situations that are addressed when the need arises.
Aid For Friends
An interfaith, volunteer-run organization that serves free, home-cooked meals to the needy and homebound. AFF provides St. Paul’s with aluminum trays for distribution to volunteer cooks in our congregation. The trays are available all year long for people to take home, fill and return. Some families use this as an opportunity to work together by planning a predetermined number of meals and preparing them at home. Some groups prefer to work together at the church, while others simply make a little extra at meal time and prepare a few trays weekly.
Blood Drive (American Red Cross)
St. Paul’s holds one to two annual blood drives to help with the ongoing demand for safe blood supplies. Many volunteers are needed to contact potential and previous blood donors. In addition, church members help prepare and serve dinner to the Red Cross volunteers and assist with registering donors.
Christian Angel Wreath
Congregation members assist with local outreach by supporting the Christmas Angel Wreath Project. Individuals make a financial donation for an angel, which can be signed with a personal Christmas message and hung on a large wreath for all to see. The proceeds are then distributed to a predetermined agency.
Community Outreach – Feeding the Homeless
Life Center of Eastern Delaware County
St. Paul’s volunteers shop, cook, and serve home-cooked meals to approximately 250 homeless adults and children at 63rd Street in Upper Darby. This ministry, performed the third Sunday of every month, is one of the most meaningful ministries performed by the St. Paul’s family.
Food Pantry- Supplies food to families in local communities
Baskets are provided in several locations throughout the church to collect canned goods and nonperishable items, which are distributed to local agencies and families.
Pioneers/Elderly Care (Everlasting Arms – ELA)
In addition to St. Paul’s Pioneer Group, the Social Ministry Committee ministers to the elderly and homebound members via the Everlasting Arms Program. GVP’s (God’s Valued Persons) are “adopted” by members of the congregation and are provided with regular contact and companionship. Volunteers are provided with:
(a) a mini-profile of their adoptee
(b) directions to his/her residence
(c) a complimentary packet of greeting cards
(d) a list of ideas for “ice-breakers” and fun things to do
This group assists the elderly with yard cleanup and miscellaneous household tasks.
Congregation members regularly deliver altar flowers and special holiday plants to homebound members and other individuals who are ill or who are experiencing emotional or physical challenges.
Habitat For Humanity
Members of St. Paul’s church are afforded semi-annual opportunities to join hands with the Habitat for Humanity family of volunteers. Generally speaking, St. Paul’s “ministers” to the families on Stiles Street in West Philadelphia, which has been an ongoing community endeavor since 1987.
Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN)
IHN provides homeless families with temporary food and shelter by utilizing community resources for food, shelter and social services. Each participating congregation furnishes overnight lodging and meals for three to five families (maximum of sixteen people) for one week at a time, each two to three months on a rotating basis. Various Montgomery County social service agencies help find employment, counseling and daycare for individual family members.
St. Paul’s Social Ministry Committee and the Women of the ELCA help support numerous Lutheran charities through various endeavors.
Upon request, congregation members and their friends and family members can receive prayers from the 40+ members of the Prayer Chain. Individuals participating in the Prayer Chain are contacted weekly to pray, daily, for those who are ill or troubled. Faithful, diligent prayer is a powerful and mighty force available to everyone who seeks it!
Transportation Needs – Dialing-Up for Transportation (DUPT)
Congregation members are available to transport those needing rides to church and church-related activities as well as for doctor visits and other necessary errands.
St. Paul’s Social Ministry Committee provides semi-annual opportunities for congregation members to support the working wardrobe program by donating their good-quality clothing in order to assist individuals either entering or re-entering the workforce. What a difference a stylish suit can make in raising the self-esteem of individuals coming off welfare and striving to become self-sufficient.