News and Resources from the Upstate New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Living Our Mission

Ten Tons of Love

By: James Jerge

ten_tons_of_love_1I have witnessed a miracle! I saw an ordinary church basement hall transformed into a buzzing center of mission activity.

All it takes is about 45 tons of reusable items (everything from fans to food to futons; from clocks to clothing to cookery; from books to boots to baskets; from magic-erase boards to mini-fridges to microwaves… get the idea!), about 30 super-dedicated volunteers a day, for 25 days, from various congregations and the community, someone(s) to make and serve a daily lunch……and, Voilà! Mission Center!

Understatedly named “Ten Tons of Love”®, The First English Lutheran Church of Syracuse (FEL) – in cooperation with Syracuse University, SUNY ESF, Onondaga Community College and a host of local businesses who donate trucks, drivers and storage PODS – has just wrapped up the 17th year of this semi-annual effort to invite students leaving campus at the end of a term to recirculate usable items from students to needy neighbors on the North Side of Syracuse and beyond. Volunteers sort, fold, launder and store all the items for distribution through FEL’s Clothing Closet

Pastor Craig Herrick reports that in the early days, his minivan and a Subaru went to a few dorms and picked up stuff that was mostly garbage. As the quantity of donated items has increased, so has the quality, as students report feeling good about sharing from what they no longer need with those who know only need. It’s not at all rare to receive items that are brand new (with tags in place!) to nearly new.

Coordinated for 16 years by Paula Hughson, FEL’s now-retired Ministry Associate, Steve Grant and I had our first experience in coordinating this massive effort. We did our best to stay out of the way and let this group of enthusiastic volunteers show us how miracles happen! Thanks be to God!

Calling All Graduates

By: Marcia Brown, Mission Interpreter

So, you graduated from high school or college. What was your major? What kind of job are you looking for? Did you know in whatever capacity you work, you will always have a vocation? Some people think the word “vocation” means a special calling by God to serve as a pastor in the church. This is true – clergy have a calling from God to live their lives in service to God and God’s church.

But the Lutheran view of vocation has a much deeper and broader meaning, extending beyond this narrow definition and into everyday life. As members of the ELCA, we believe that we all have a calling – a vocation – to follow Christ’s example, living a life of meaning and purpose in service to the common good. To work every day – in what we say and do – to share God’s boundless love with the world.

You may think, “Isn’t that what pastors do?” Yes. But it can also be what bus drivers, secretaries and factory workers do. And in fact, living in service for others extends beyond the work we call “work.” Our “jobs” as parents, siblings, friends, citizens and neighbors are also important vocations. When we challenge ourselves to do these jobs the best that we can, putting others’ needs before our own, and striving for the common good, we are responding to God’s call for our life – our vocation. Live your life as an example of this – honoring God by serving others.

God’s work, our hands.

Proclaiming Hope

This mission magazine tells the stories of just a few of the many ways lives are being made new by the power of the Holy Spirit through the ministries of the Upstate New York Synod. We hope you will be inspired by te work we do together in Jesus' name.

Questions Regarding Mission
New Mission
Lutheran Disaster Response
Social Ministry
Outreach with Young Adults
Congregational Renewal
Congregational Redevelopment
Growing Disciples
Companion Synods
Missionary Support
Theological Education
Outdoor Ministry
Campus Ministry

Download a PDF file of the entire magazine.