Dear Friends in Christ,
As a Christian I cannot help but love my neighbor.
I think many well-meaning families and individuals who live outside of challenged neighborhoods could easily prefer, because the situation is so complex, to forget about it and wash their hands of it and think it will go away.
From personal experience as an innercity parish pastor, I must insist that the church does play a key role as a corporate citizen in reversing the downward spiral of our urban neighborhoods. It is difficult for the small urban congregations to do this alone, without some support. We need to realize that to revitalize communities is an investment, which brings homeownership to people in need; it trains people for homeownership which gives people pride and dignity. Revitalized communities give people a future and a plan for their families, a stake in life. I believe it absolutely is our Christian responsibility, and beyond that is simply a civic good that should and ought to interest every person in a community.
We created Lutheran Housing Support to provide technical and financial support for our local congregations and their members. Congregations should be that driving force in neighborhoods that acts as a catalyst of change, fostering pride and creating home-ownership! What a wonderful gift we have been given in our vocations that enable us to make such a difference in God’s Kingdom.
As a Christian I am called to love my neighbor. This is a privilege compelling me to live my faith in love. Join me in strengthening the capacity of our local churches to change their neighborhoods. Give generously for our task is urgent, complex, and requires our faithful prayers and support.
Rev. Matthew Harrison
President of the Synod