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Member in Mission: Rich Slavik

You may recognize Rich Slavik as the guy who hands you a bulletin as you walk into church or passes you an offering plate during service. He’s quietly assumed this role of usher for so long that even he has forgotten how many years its been, but he’s earned the title of lead usher because without fail he shows up and is there to serve. He has been showing up at Good Sam since 1996, back before the tattoo shop, when our congregation met at the Knight’s of Columbus Hall.

Originally from New Jersey, Rich first found himself here in Pax River with the Navy and during his 27 year career he was stationed a total of 4 times. It was on his last tour here that he found Good Sam. After retiring from the navy, he dabbled briefly with civilian contracting on base, but ultimately found his next calling in serving with The Arc Southern Maryland. This organization’s mission is “Creating opportunities for independence and personal success for people with different abilities in inclusive communities.” This job brought him into a support and friendship role with adults with developmental disabilities – Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy and more. Rich spent the next 14 years taking assignments to care for and serve individuals; helping them with their daily routines, taking them shopping, playing pool, or going to movies.  He maintained connections and friendships with these men and women and their families.

All the while Rich continued to attend and serve Good Sam, through transitions and changes of location. He has served on the finance team on and off, and still serves as secretary. He witnessed the birth of the Food Pantry through a youth group challenge to bring in food, watched it grow, helped when he could, and after retirement eventually took over as the lead of Our Daily Bread food pantry. I see Rich in the office every Monday like clockwork as he picks up food from the donation bins and carries it across the parking lot. He is participating in a group trying to bring a Food Bank to St Mary’s County for the benefit of ALL of the local food pantries and soup kitchens, but for now he and others weekly drive to Waldorf to restock what’s needed from the closest area Food Bank. He leads volunteers from our church and community every Wednesday and Friday as they restock shelves and then help hand out food to the 120 patrons who come each week. Rich’s steady and persistent mission to serve others helps sustains the ministries he touches, and we are lucky to have this member in mission as part of our community.

Member in Mission: Leanne Hicks

Member in Mission: Leanne Hicks

Wife, Mother, Church Member, Business Manager and Volunteer EMT – these are the many roles Leanne has been called to. How does one come into all of these roles in life and in the community? A life time of answering those calls to mission and purpose!

Born in New York, Leanne grew up an Air Force kid and came to live in Pax River with her family as a child. In 2000 her mother, Deborah Yates, started a residential and commercial cleaning company called Spare Hands Cleaning. In 2006 Leanne joined the company and for the last 10 years she has been the manager as well. This is the same company that has cleaned for Good Sam every other week for more than 8 years and has served the community for 19 years! This family company has a remarkable mission – and it’s not just cleaning! Like many businesses they do their fair share of donating a percent of profits and raffling off a free service, but they also partner with the Department of Aging to offer discounted services to those in need and have services available to hoarders who want help making their homes livable. Another wonderful program they participate in is “Cleaning for a Reason” – A non-profit that serves women undergoing cancer treatment by matching them with a company who will provide house cleaning service for free. Locally Spare Hands donates 2 cleanings a month to the program and Leanne had been blessed to be a part of the lives of all those in need who find their way to the Spare Hands family.

A year after starting with Spare Hands, Leanne and her fiancé Thomas were searching for a church that would marry them and their path led them to Good Sam. They continue to embrace the mission of the church as well, finding ways to serve the community. Just 4 years ago Leanne decided to answer another type of call – to be a trained as a volunteer EMT for our local Lexington Park Volunteer Rescue Squad (LPVRS). The 2 stations that make up the LPVRS are on call 24/7 staffed 100% by volunteers – drivers, EMT providers, and crew!  To become an EMT, Leanne took the 5-month training course and passed a practical exam and committed to passing a National Certification Exam as well to serve to her maximum potential. The flexibility of volunteering for shifts and committing to a minimum of 30 hours a month fit well with her other roles in home and business. Her 12-year-old, Kara, is involved as well as an Associate Member helping with fundraising and starting on her own years of service in our community. When she turns 16 she will be able to serve as a Junior Member, become CPR certified, serve on shifts and even ride on as crew. Her older daughter Kamesha found her own path in the community volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. Thank you, Leanne for sharing your mission and being an example to your children and a light to those around you in our church family and our community.

Member in Mission: Laurie Johnson-Brown

Mission Spotlight: Laurie Johnson-Brown

On Dr. Laurie Johnson-Brown’s first trip to Westmoreland Parrish in Frome, Jamaica she helped to finish a school in partnership with the Church of the Nazarene – Burnt Savanna. This past holiday season she traveled on her 2nd trip with 3 suitcases full of school supplies to deliver to Ferris Primary & George’s Plain Primary Schools! She was invited to run workshops for parents, admin & Sunday school teachers – one of which was focused on best practices for students with special learning needs. She also led a program for young adults in their 20’s called “Single & Saved.” Back home in Maryland she is the Vice Principle at a special education center in Charles County where her passion is to “be a light in public school.” She surely succeeds at making community connections at home and abroad. 
 
After returning from 12 amazing days in Frome, Jamaica Laurie says “I’m am praying for God to afford me the opportunity to go back to work with the teachers and to provide assistance with supplies and educational materials!”

Mission and Engagement

The purpose of Missions & Engagement at Good Samaritan Lutheran Church is to train and equip ordinary people to go and do extraordinary things in the name of Jesus so that all might see, hear and experience God’s love in tangible ways.


About our Local Engagement

Through building bridges in our local community, Good Sam strategically leads and partners with ministries that care for the most vulnerable in our community. Through equipping the saints (you), we are able to show the love and compassion of Jesus to a broken and hurting community. We believe that the key to transforming lives for Jesus is through the context of the relationships we build in our neighborhoods.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. {Ephesians 2:10}

We will help you find the intersection of passion and purpose in your life which God has specifically gifted you to serve.

Good Sam-Led Ministries and Initiatives

Local Partner Ministries

Member-Led Ministries of Passion

Global Mission Ministries

Puentes Mission Trip 2019
Kelly Thurber’s Building Puentes Temple Talk

Mission Focus Stories: Finding Our Neighbors Along the Journey of Faith

dawning upon usHave you experienced the loss of a close friend, parent or other relative, when you were a child or adolescent? Maybe you know someone who had such an experience. This past weekend (June 6 & 7) Hospice of St. Mary’s held their annual Camp Sunrise, a grief camp for children ages 6-17 who have experienced a death in their lives. Camp Sunrise was developed to address the unique grieving process of children and their developmentally appropriate response to death. Camp Sunrise is an opportunity for children to learn how to express their feelings and thoughts on the loss of their loved one, honor and remember their loved one, and connect with other children who have experienced loss.

Serving as a mentor for a few of the Camp Sunrise attendees was my privilege and honor. The young people participated in art activities, horse related activities, canoeing, yoga, swimming and many other opportunities to connect with each other and work on their grief. It was an opportunity to walk alongside young people who have very deep needs for love and support. If you would like to know more about Camp Sunrise, or other opportunities for bereavement support or end of life care available through Hospice of St. Mary’s, please contact me.

Mission Focus Logo

logos

We want to introduce you to a new Good Sam image.  We hope it makes you think of Good Sam and our life together.  We also hope it helps you think about our mission and purpose as a community.  “Finding our neighbors along the journey of faith” is a strong statement of our mission focus in 2015.  Notice how the roads join in the distance not long before you reach the cross.  This is a great image for the work that we are about:  looking for those moments when our path crosses our neighbors path and the presence of Jesus comes into clearer focus.

CMYK_GS tagline on leftYou will start to see the above version of this image in a number of different places.  You’ll also see the version to the left.  It places the tag line more prominently.

Thanks to the Digital Communications Team for their creativity and work on this idea.  Special thanks to Sue Williams who donated her growing talent as a graphic artist in bringing this idea to expression and life.  We hope you will come to see this image as a sign of Good Samaritan stepping into mission.  Thanks for all the ways that you help us make a difference in our community.

One final thing you might see in this image is a new web address,  www.goodsam.community.    We think this new address speaks to the sense of community we are trying to create for ourselves and for our neighbors.  Our new website will continue to grow in its design and usefulness to members and visitors alike.  Check it out today!

 

Mission Focus at Good Sam

Do you have a purpose to your life of faith? Perhaps you have a sense of how God uses you to accomplish God’s work in the world around you? At Good Samaritan we have mission statements and identified values to help us identify our purposes. You will see them highlighted in blue below. They serve as a pointer toward our mission and work as a congregation. But the real work of being a mission outpost is for each ministry group and each individual in our fellowship to be working at identifying what we do and how we go about seeing these purposes expressed in our activity, events, gatherings and relationships.

To that end, your 2015 Council is preparing to engage each ministry group and as many of our members as we can in how you see your sense of mission. We hope to imagine and reimagine what our purposes are together. Here is what our Constitution says about our purposes.

Our Mission as the family of Good Samaritan is to welcome all to gather and grow, give of themselves and go into the world to serve as disciples of Jesus Christ.

Vision:  Every member is a disciple. We are disciples building disciples.

Values:  Seeking God, Relationships with God and with Each Other, Spiritual Growth, Serving

As we think about how we are doing this work, here is an invitation to bring that sense of mission into a tighter focus.

A Mission Focus for Today

(A focusing of our work as Good Samaritans and as people of faith. )

Our mission is something we do together and individually!

As people of faith, we walk together in seeking to better discover the hand of God working among us, the partnership we have in Christ and the ways we can nourish and encourage one another in faith and in life. We seek to journey in faith in such a way that the love of God is present in the intersections of our lives with the lives of those we meet–in church and in our communities and in the world.

We note the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Here, there are two characters who do not manage to engage or be connected to a person whose path they cross. Even worse, they are people whom you might expect to see making a difference in the life of a person in need. Yet their religious duties seem to preclude their stopping. The one who does stop to connect and help is perhaps the one in the story whom we might least expect to help. This neighbor (the one farthest away spiritually and geographically) seems to have no question of stopping. He simply knows the man in the ditch needs help.

Surprisingly, there seems to be no question about stopping, it is an obvious need that he sees and cares for.

We also reference the meeting of Philip and the Ethiopian (Acts 8:26-40). Here two travelers, who might not find a reason to talk, find themselves engaged in the story of a servant from Isaiah 53. Each man turns out to be a servant in their own right, who can better find their way guided by the story of Jesus as seen through Isaiah 53. They discover that each of them is on a mission toward God and they discover they have reason to talk even though, from outward appearances, we might expect them to have nothing in common.

These stories inform and encourage us in being alive to God through attention to our connections and interactions. It becomes true to say that God is best discovered in those moments when our paths meaningfully cross and we become co-travelers and partners in discovering God’s activity in each of our lives.

In this sense we are Philip and the Ethiopian seeking to better learn to become servants of Jesus as much as we are the Samaritan who helps and the traveler who needs assistance to continue on their journey.

God has graciously brought us together to be about the work of God in each of our lives. In this sense we are growing together… not just intertwined but internationally in service to each other as we each journey our individual paths toward our Lord’s calling in our lives.

Here is a sample story from the life of Good Sam that illustrates learning to find our neighbors.  Check out the video:

Therefore, faith becomes …

  • a journey of self-discovery.
  • a journey of learning to love God and neighbor.
  • a walking with others as we learning about God’s ways in the world.
  • a way of walking with those whom God places in our path through affirming, observing, modeling and seeking God’s presence in our midst.

At faith moments like these, the light of God begins to shine purposefully in each of our stories and in each of our paths forward. All this requires is mindfulness of God’s uses and purposes in the intersections of our lives. Mindful of God amid our connections is a great spirituality to nurture. When we do, we will begin to see God working in wonderful little moments and curious little corners of our lives and in our interactions with other people. What a great way to have a concrete sense of God’s hand in our lives.

It is my invitation to you, as your Pastor, to make this not just our shared mission expressed in our gathering and activities together, but to make this your mission–a part of your exploring God’s guiding along your path to God’s work in your life. It is as simple as listening to God and looking toward your neighbor.

Join us in being Good Samaritans, won’t you?

Pastor Mitch Watney

2014 Mission Statement & Ministry Goals

Thanks to those who participated in the Family Meeting opportunities on March 2. As discussed at those meetings, our Good Samaritan mission statement and our congregation’s ministry goals for 2014 are:

We invite you to take some time to reflect on our mission statement and goals, in order to consider places where you might be engaged in them, working alongside your fellow Good Samaritans. Please feel free to share your thoughts about these goals and ways which you personally may choose to be involved in our congregation’s mission and faith journey, or thoughts you may have to connect with people within and outside our Good Samaritan family. Use the “Leave a Comment or Ask a Question Here” dialog box here on the By the Way, email to council@goodsamlutheran.com, speak to a council member in person, or any other way you would like to make your thoughts known, but please join the conversation… THANK YOU!

— John S., Council President

God is with us, thoughts from Pastor Mitch

It hasn’t been quite “Church as Usual” here at Good Sam lately; people who are sick and fearful and bowled over by the love and care they receive here; new families are coming almost weekly, last week one family turned in an estimate of giving card and are ready to join after their first visit.  There were 30 children that came forward for Children’s time this last Sunday and one visitor stood to offer a testimonial and confess his need for help, not knowing where else to turn.  We’re having an impact!  How can we make it a “Lasting Impact” (check out this invitation).

The stories seem to go on and on.  Two Sundays ago a visiting family from the neighborhood had their children shadow the acolyte and crucifer that morning.  They were learning that they were welcome here and are very welcome to be involved.  One new member put it this way to me, “the values I see here are: “Jump in, get involved, you matter, we’re glad you are here, we are in this together.””

In these anecdotal stories you might begin to hear that we are beginning to have at least a short term impact if not a lasting impact with those who come and feel they are welcome and belong here.  Really this is the core of the conversation I want to invite us all at Good Sam to have over the next three months.  How can we better step forward through our faith lives to make a lasting impact within and outside our walls with people God brings into our lives?

Follow this link to read another story about Danata and her mission to bring her Grandchildren to church.  Please consider picking up a copy of the book called “Lasting Impact.” By Carey Neiuwhof .  there are copies available in the Fellowship Hall.  Here is the link to the invitation to read and explore these seven important questions for making our impact a lasting one.  Then join us on Wednesday evenings in Advent (7 pm) for discussion or perhaps for Sunday morning’s  Coffee and Conversation (10:30 am) during Advent to talk about our perceptions, hopes, dreams and where God’s call is percolating in our community.

Pastor Mitch

You are invited to a Good Sam Conversation around “Lasting Impact”

Would you join together in a conversation? I want to talk as a congregation, as friends, as people of faith and as coworkers in the Good News of Jesus.  I have a bit of a dream, that we could discover together meaningful ways to identify our values as a people of faith, share stories and hoped for stories that express those values and plan some actions, behaviors and events that would help us give our shared values life and joyful expression.

Really, I wonder if you would dream with me.  Good Sam – Would you read a book together this fall and winter and talk about it?  I am hoping you will come to share your dreams and interact with the dreams and vision of others in our fellowship.  I believe God will speak among us and to us all in such a conversation.

So here is my invitation to you Good Sam, Read with me this book: “Lasting Impact” by Carey Nieuwhof.  I have 20 copies in my office to give and share and pass around.  It’s available on Amazon (follow the Title Link Lasting Impact).

Here are four ways you can participate in this conversation:

  • Read the book and talk with church members about it during fellowship time. Invite a friend to read it with you and talk about it together over coffee.  Share any thoughts or discoveries with a church leader, council member or Pastor Mitch.
  • Join us on Wednesdays in Advent 7 pm to 8 pm to talk about the book. We will begin Nov. 28th and finish on Dec. 19th.
    • November 28, Intro and Chapters 1-2.
    • December 5, Chapters 3-4
    • December 12, Chapters 5-6
    • December 19, Chapters 7 and Conclusions

This activity is not information to share, but a conversation to have together.  So I invite you to read the book and find a way to talk about it together.

  • Join us for Coffee and Conversations, Sunday Mornings in Advent to talk about these conversations as well.

Pastor Mitch

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