A Heart for Community Impact
Pastor Robert Myallis is settling into his role at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Lititz. He joins a congregation that has repeatedly proven its commitment to the declaration in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s mission statement that, “with our hands, we do God’s work of restoring and reconciling communities in Jesus’ name throughout the world.” St. Paul’s day care center began as an outreach to low income single mothers and still maintains a generous scholarship program. The congregation is involved in the Lititz-Warwick Community Chest and is planning to build a group of Habitat for Humanity homes on church property. They have sponsored refugee families, and mentored Bridge of Hope families. Their second mentoring group was matched with a family this year.
Pastor Rob appears to be the perfect fit for this actively engaged congregation. He envisions empowering his congregation to become a “juggernaut of mission” in the community by building on their existing generosity and compassion. According to Pastor Rob, “Most people look to their churches for avenues of charity. The challenge is to move on to become a real impact player in the community.”
Fielding mentoring groups for Bridge of Hope Lancaster & Chester Counties has been a part of St. Paul’s impact in the community for nine years. Over the years, three families have been matched with mentors. Past Bridge of Hope board member and Governance Chair Phyllis Frankhouser discovered Bridge of Hope through her first mentoring experience. After mentoring a participant in 2009, Phyllis joined the Board and served until March of this year. In addition to mentoring, the church has collected gift cards and their Brownie troop collected books this year for children in our program. Phyllis continues to advocate for Bridge of Hope, serving as a liason between the church. Her experience with the first family she mentored has helped her offer perspective to her fellow mentors. She summed up the challenge and the power of the mentoring experience: “It’s safe to bring food or make a gift. It’s different being willing to allow yourself to be hurt.” The partnership between mentors and families opens up vulnerability on both sides. It is possible to be hurt and disappointed – and possible to be surprised and transformed.
We are deeply grateful that the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church congregation have worked alongside us to build bridges of hope for families recovering from homelessness.