Pigs with a Purpose Highlight

Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd is our Pigs with a Purpose highlight pig this week. See a note from their pastoral assistant below about the meaning behind the illustration.


Pig with a Purpose

At last!  Our pig was finally delivered by Pastor Carlson from the Synod office in Iowa City as it was too big and heavy to ship.  Thanks to Lakisha Aller for her wonderful artwork, painting the pig and portraying his meaning—to collect funds for World Hunger.  He is displayed in the Narthex and if you look closely, Lakisha has captured the full meaning of this mission.  You will note a world map centered by loaves and fishes and on the left a fork with the handle being the word ”fighting” and on the right a knife “world” and the spoon “hunger”.  The colors are beautiful.  I had asked for suggestions for name for our pig and didn’t get much response but then I recalled what is probably my favorite gospel passage, Matthew 25:37-40.  “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me” so I have taken the liberty to name our pig Matthew.  He is joined by his little sister, Matilda (she’s pink with white polka dots), a plush bank in which you may drop your bills and coins or you may use your offering or pew envelope at church services.  The bishop’s office has hopes that each pig will bring to this mission at least $500.00.  Knowing Good Shepherd people and their desire to feed the hungry I am projecting we will offer more than that.  Matthew and Matilda will be on display until just before May 19th when the funds will be taken to the Synod Assembly on May 19th and 20th at Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines.  On behalf of the hungry people around the world we thank you.  Thanks again to Lakisha for the great job.

Sara Downs, Pastoral Assistant


Check back next week for another Pigs with a Purpose highlight!

Pigs with a Purpose

When it comes to Pigs with a Purpose, someone might think that the $500 commitment to bring as offering to synod assembly is a little steep.
Indeed, that is over a month of average grocery bills in my house, a good portion of my monthly mortgage, and Lord knows all of the fun things I could do with the same amount. Clearly I’m not saying that $500 is petty cash by any means, but in the bigger picture, what does $500 actually mean? What would it take for a family, neighborhood, youth group, congregation to come up with these funds?
Sometimes all you need is a little perspective to see how Pigs with a Purpose can actually make a lasting impact on those living in hunger and poverty. I came across this article titled 5 Random Things we Spend our Money on that make Global Aid Look Like Pocket Change. which gave me some much needed much-needed.
After you’ve taken a look, consider: how much is it worth to raise at least $500 for children of God who hunger? How much is it to sacrifice even a little for the sake of our sisters and brothers?
And then, after considering, join me in committing to work (and give) to end hunger.
To request a pig and pledge to bring at least $500 to our synod assembly offering, contact Coco Lyons: lyons@seiasynod.org.
Hope to see you and your pig at the assembly in May!
Pastor Erika Uthe,
Assistantt to the Bishop

A Letter from Bishop Burk

Dear Friends in Christ,

Like so many of you, I have read and responded to lots of Facebook posts, statements released and invitations to “sign on” to letters that speak to issues that have either arisen with or made more complicated by, the dawn of a new administration. There is a sense of heightened urgency. But the issues are not new. Policies related to immigration, refugees and access to health care have come into greater focus, creating a dizzying sense of need among society’s most vulnerable. All the while, challenges related to hunger and poverty, systemic racism, support for quality education, caring for wounded veterans and any number of other challenges still loom large.

The circumstances that call for faith-based advocacy have so many layers that it is tempting to think of advocacy more in terms of being “against” something or someone rather than being “for” those who need us to speak on their behalf, who long for us to stand with them because of how they are being or will be victimized. It is a risky business worth the risk when it is unambiguously driven by the good news we are called to proclaim.

So here is the challenge when tempted to take our lead from the latest headline or blog or tweet. Let our proclamation, week in and week out, day after day reflect a clear telling of the Jesus story. More than that, in our encounters with parishioners and politicians, with the mighty and with the least of these, let us give them Jesus. We are called to declare that God’s all-inclusive love is a promise kept, that God’s mercy is intended for all people, including those who do not see things the way we see them. Including those who enflame our passions and stir us to anger.

There is the rub. We are called to proclaim a good news that is for everyone in an era of such polarization, never yielding on premise that this inclusive good news is especially for the poor and for those who are themselves most at risk.

To be sure, there is often an “against-ness” to doing justice. But advocacy at its best reflects and consistently embodies the good news that the dawn that matters is the rising of a crucified Christ, the saving witness that God is FOR this broken world. All of it.

Blessings,

burk-signature-thin-2015

 

 

Bishop Michael Burk

 

Pigs with a Purpose


Mitten is the first of what we hope will be many pigs popping up across the Southeastern Iowa Synod between now and the synod assembly in May. These will be pigs with a purpose…to reinforce that ours is an anti-hunger synod and to raise funds to fight hunger.

Here is how it works. Plywood cut-outs of pigs in the same shape as Mitten are available to any group or individual that will commit raising or contributing at least $500 toward anti-hunger efforts between now and the Southeastern Iowa Synod Assembly, May 19-20, 2017. Decorate your pig. Display it at your church or in your yard or wherever it is likely to get the attention of others who want to join the effort to fight hunger. And then send or bring the money you’ve committed to the synod assembly as part of a special offering to help end hunger.

To get started, contact Coco Lyons, Associate for Communication (lyons@seiasynod.org). She will help you get connected to your pig. And then enlist the aid of others (youth group, church choir, altar guild, family and/or friends) to decorate and to donate. $500 is “buy in” for a pig, but there is no limit to how much can be contributed. The more, the better. All funds will go directly to support ELCA World Hunger ministries or anti-hunger efforts within the synod.

Our hope is the people from every congregation in the synod will assist in this special effort to raise funds to fight hunger. This is not limited to acquiring your own pig with a purpose. Every gift of any size matters and will be welcomed into a synod-wide anti-hunger offering at the synod assembly. But the pigs can serve as a visible reminder of our commitment as they draw attention to the effort to feed the hungry and support people living in poverty.

By the way, Mitten got that name from Bishop Burk’s grandson, Noah. Mitten will be “attending” the synod assembly. It will be great to have lots of other colorful reminders at the assembly on full display. Between now and then, who knows where the Bishop’s Pig might show up.

Free Media

Before I was the synod communicator, I was a youth director with a degree in multimedia communications. That meant I was the go-to girl when it came to figuring out how to market/publicize/communicate any sort of information.

The biggest frustration I had when it came to trying to create eye-catching publications (posters, announcements, videos, graphics etc.) was I didn’t have the tools necessary to achieve the look I wanted.

The tools I used in college were too expensive for a small congregation’s budget, yet the free tools were clunky and outdated. I needed something that would allow me to create communication publications easily and that made it look good.

Below is a list of places you can go to create timely communication publications for your congregation.

Stock Photos/Images: pixabay.com

Royalty Free Music: bensound.com

Video: videvo.net

Fonts: fontsquirrel.com

Graphics: canva.com

If you have any questions or are in search of more resources please contact me by email at lyons@seiasynod.org.

*As always, be sure to fully read and understand the licensing on each piece of media you download.*


coco
Coco is the associate for communications for the Southeastern Iowa Synod. Her passions include ministry and media with a side of photography and baking. An avid cat lover, Coco is from Waukon Iowa and graduated in 2015 with a communication arts degree from Wartburg College.

Lutheran Day on the Hill

Mark your calendars and plan to join a group of passionate advocates on Tuesday, February 21, 2017, for Lutheran Day on the Hill and make a difference for tens of thousands of Iowans. Your legislators want and need to hear from you about critical human services.

Lutheran Day on the Hill gives you the opportunity to share your voice with your legislators. As in years past, participants will be given information about important issues before the legislature and will be given suggestions about how best to visit with them concerning what is most important to you. The day will begin at 9:30 at Capitol Hill Lutheran Church before moving to the Statehouse.

Chartered buses offered at no cost to attendees will be stopping in Iowa City and Newton. Online registration will be available in mid-January. Additional information will be provided on that site.

This event has been made possible in part through a grant from ELCA World Hunger. Lutheran Services in Iowa is proud to be a partner in Lutheran Day on the Hill with the three Iowa Synods of the ELCA.

How to Build an Online Presence

Social media might seem a little overwhelming. How do I post? How can I get my message out in 140 characters? I don’t have time to monitor every social media channel but how else am I going to connect? Is it really that important to use social media?

Take a deep breath. It’s not as overwhelming as it seems. Start small, there is no need to rush into having multiple social media platforms and accounts.

I will give you a breakdown of the top three social media sites being utilized by all age groups today (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)

Facebook: A good place to start building an online presence for your congregation is through Facebook. According to a Pew Research study done on 2016 social media trends, 79% of online adults use Facebook.

Using Facebook is a great way to connect with all ages. On each Facebook post, users can like, react, comment and share making it easy to connect on a more personal level with people within your community.

One good piece of advice is to use pictures or videos on your Facebook posts to capture the attention of your audience. Often, simple word posts are easily missed due to being mixed in with media driven posts.

Twitter: This is a great platform for getting a message out in short, concise postings (tweets). Twitter only allows 140 characters to be used within each post, making it a great tool for doing quick announcements or to get your point across quicker than Facebook.

A neat way to integrate Twitter into your church service is to ask your congregation members to tweet out sermon snippets. This allows people to share the Gospel broadly and quickly. Better yet, take confirmation online and have your confirmation students tweet their sermon notes! It creates an easy way to develop your students into digital ministers and allows you to get on their level of communication (they may even find you hip).

Instagram: Instagram is a visual-based social media site. Utilizing photos and short videos, Instagram is popular with the younger generations. Six in ten adults (18-29 year olds) who are online use Instagram.

Using Instagram allows you to show your congregation what is happening throughout your community. During Advent and Lent, a lot of times people will use Instagram as a platform for their photo-a-day challenges.

No matter what platform your congregation is using to share the Gospel and the work your church is doing, be sure to connect with the Southeastern Iowa Synod on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Use the hashtag #inthistogether on your posts so others may follow along and connect with you in shared ministry.

*before posting minor’s images to any online source (website included) be sure to have a signed release form from a parent/guardian*

(for the full Pew Research Social Media Update 2016 click here.)