Greetings from Community Lutheran Partners!

CLP celebrates our 20th Anniversary this year! Thank you for your support of this ministry! Your help allows us to be a blessing throughout the synod. I cannot overstate how important you are to the success of CLP; your time, donations, interest, and participation make a difference. Please help us to be here for another twenty years.

In the eight months that I have been with CLP, we have not had any major disaster response (thanks be to God!). This has been good, not only in allowing me to finish seminary as quietly as possible, but also allowing us to explore some of the other goals outlined in our strategic plan. Our strategic plan consists of four goals.

Goal 1: Disaster Preparedness, Response and Recovery

OnePlus and STUFF kits continue to be assembled and distributed, even when there is no widespread disaster. I have found that who is getting them is often determined by the other services offered in an area. If you want to host a “closet” or work with one in your area, please let me know. Some give out the kits nearly as quickly as they assemble them. If you need an easy service project for your group/congregation/etc., this is always a winner.

Response often gets the most attention. I would like to bring our attention to Preparedness and Recovery. Resilient communities are pro-active, not just re-active. We can’t predict everything but having a plan in place is empowering and allows response and recovery to happen quicker.

Goal 2: Health Ministry

Mental health affects all of us. Promoting awareness of mental health of all ages is necessary to help de-stigmatize seeking help and treatment. If this is a particular soft spot for you and you want to pursue something in your congregation or community, let me know.

Goal 3: Social and Economic Justice

Know that bit where Jesus commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves? This is part of it. Poverty, hunger, environmental issues, racism, they are all slices of the justice pie. Advocacy also falls under this goal. I am currently working on a youth program with WV Council of Churches, WV Interfaith Power and Light and the National Religious Partnership for the Environment called “In Praise and Care of Creation” to encourage young folks of faith to engage in creation care activities in their congregations and communities. I am planning on hosting some dialogue sessions where we can talk about the needs we see in our communities and how we can help meet them.

Goal 4: Healthy Organization

In some ways, this is the toughest one. It is about establishing a resilient, thriving CLP. I cannot do this alone; I need involved board members and congregations. CLP needs people who see that we, followers of Christ, have been freed in and through Christ to serve our neighbors, who embrace our Appalachian heritage and help others because that is what we do here. Twenty years could be just a drop in the bucket of what CLP is capable of if people stand with and support us. If you want to be on the board or want me to come speak to any group of people (really, I’m not shy), drop me a message or give me a call. If you want to send CLP money or do a dedicated fundraiser, awesome! Thank you!

In Conclusion

Some of you are aware that I am a diaconal candidate. The imagery that a lot of deacons use to describe themselves is that of a bridge. I see CLP as diaconal in nature because it is very bridge-like. It bridges the church and the world, the non-Lutherans and the Lutherans, congregations and communities. We are your partner in doing ministry in the world.

Again, thank you for your past, present and future support! Here is to another amazing 20 years!

Mary J. Sanders
Executive Director
Community Lutheran Partners, Inc
cell: 304-506-3158


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