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Community Support and Outreach: Helping Others

The Joy of Generosity

"...and who is my neighbor?" (Luke 10)


Jesus answers the question with the story we've come to call the Parable of the Good Samaritan.  He concludes by asking his own question, "which of these proved to be neighbor to the man (in trouble)?"  Jesus knows Torah      (the Jewish law): Love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and soul and strength...and your neighbor as yourself".


Otsego County's Lutheran churches live out Jesus' teaching. by reaching out to our "neighbors" - here at home, and around the world.  Listed here are some of the ways we do this.

CHARITABLE DEDUCTIONS – As you may know, taxpayers who meet the age requirement of 70 ½, can transfer any Required Minimum Distributions from IRAs to an eligible charity without paying income tax on the transaction. Since churches qualify as eligible charities, some parishioners at Atonement have begun doing this in the past few years. Parishioners who read the weekly statistics for plate and pledge donations, published in the bulletin, might notice that, on occasion, the donation total for pledges may seem rather substantial. This might be because we received a distribution that week from someone who decided to take advantage of the annual tax deduction.

Parish Wide Social Ministry

Souper Bowl

Part of a national effort, the parish youth collect cash (all collected funds stay local) for hunger relief and to support food banks.

When: Super Bowl football Sunday

Contact: As announced

Saturday's Bread

Volunteers help "regulars" prepare and serve a hot lunch to anyone who needs the meal or company, each Saturday at the First United Methodist Church in Oneonta, NY. Volunteers must be of junior high age and up to help.

When: As announced

Contact: Regular volunteers Jeff & Corrine Hahn (St. Matthew) and Roger France (Atonement)

Food Pantries

Collection of food and/or money for local food banks. Each congregation has their own relationship. See each congregation's listing for contact information

World Hunger Appeal

The ELCA's church-wide fund for hunger relief programs around the world and at home.

When: Year-round donation, in colored envelopes found in the pew rack.

(Checks payable to each parish, with notation "World Hunger Appeal)

Contact: Roger France (Atonement) or other congregations' Christian Action Committees.

Lutheran Disaster Relief

The ELCA responds to disasters around the world.

When: Special collections are held through out the year, but gifts may be given anytime.

Contact: Pastor Paul to organize a special relief event.

Pastor's Discretionary/ Help/ Samaritan Funds

Small cash reserves for ministers to provide relief to anyone with demonstrated need on an emergency basis.

When: Donations welcome year-round at all congregations. Gifts are often given to Catholic Charities.

Contact: Pastor Paul, either to make donations or to request help.


Coats for Kids

Collections of gently used (or new) coats and other winter wear, in connection with Bassett Healthcare for families in need.

When: October. Each congregation has its own collection box.

Contact: Martha Messner


Jail Ministry Gift Collection

Toys, books, and other items are collected for inmates of Otsego County Jail to give their children.

When: November with special collection boxes as announced.

Contact: Pastor Paul


Maritime Ministry

Collection of gifts (books, toiletries, clothes, hats, gloves, etc. ) for sailors berthed at the Port of Albany.

When: November - December. Each congregation has its own collection box.

Contact: Pastor Paul


Jail Visitation Ministry

Pastoral services, rotated with other ministers, include weekly service with communion and if requested, personal visitations at the Otsego County jail. Congregation members' participation is welcome.

When: Traditionally a month in Spring

Contact: Pastor Paul and Dave Forbes


Nursing Home Services

Rotated with other ministers, conduct service with communion at  nursing homes in Oneonta and Cooperstown. Congregation members' participation is welcome. St. John's periodically provides a music ministry.

When: As announced

Contact: Pastor Paul


 Card Ministry

Greeting cards sent on behalf of each congregation to shut-ins, hospitalized members, and people "away"

(e.g. college, military, snow birds).

When: As appropriate

Contact: Determined by each congregation

Navajo Mission

Collect the labels of Campbell Soup and other participating products for product redemption.

When: On going

Contact: Ilse Seitz and Martha Messner 

Atonement Social Ministry

Christmas Angel Tree

Select a child's name from the Angel Tree and purchase a clothing item and toy gift for that child.

When: December


Cookie Smorgasbord

Prepare your favorite platter of cookies to share at coffee hour and with shut-ins.

When: December

Contact: Mary Mansbach


Overall's Pocket Change

Leave your loose change in one of the overall's pockets located in the church narthex. Dollars are also welcome. For local needs.

When: Every Sunday

Contact: Roger France


Nursing Home Collection

Knit/ crochet clothing items and Afghans or donate new or gently used clothing items.

When: As announced

Contact: Joan Carman


Food Pantry

Collection of food and/or money for St. Matthew Food Pantry. Collection basket is in church narthex.

When: On going and as announced

Contact: Roger France


Annual Yard Sale

A yard sale with items donated by members and friends.

When: As announced in Fall


Benefit Concert

A musical event to benefit such ministries as disaster relief.  

Evangelical Social Ministry

Food Pantry

Collection of food and/or money for the pantry operated by the Hartwick Methodist Church.

When: On going

Contact: Carol Butts

Holiday Gifts

Collection of clothing and toys for the local children.

When: December

Contact: Ilse Seitz

Habitat for Humanity

As requested, provide volunteer work crew lunches.

When: As announced

Contact: Eileen Burda and Mary Sliviak

St. John Social Ministry

Food Bank

Collection of food and/or money for the Edmeston food bank.

When: On going and as announced

Contact: Sandy Shear

Rummage and Bake Sale

Remaining items are donated to local causes. Proceeds tithed.

When: Spring and Fall

Contact Lynne Hecker

Hartwick Village Field Days

Donated baked goods and craft items are sold at congregation table. Proceeds are tithed.

When: August

Contact: Lynne Hecker

Holiday Gift Baskets

Baskets are assembled and delivered to congregation's shut-ins and elderly.

When: December

Contact: Lynne Hecker

Warm-Up America

Collection of warm outerwear for those in need.

When: As announced

Contact: Lynne Hecker

St. Matthew Social Ministry

Food Pantry

Collection of food, dry goods, and/or money for pantry.

When: On going and as announced

Contact: Ann Lloyd and Jeff Hahn

Ongoing Items Needed

Macaroni and Cheese


Pasta Sauce



Peanut Butter

Jelly/ Jam



Tuna (or substitute protein)

Beans (kidney, black, cannelloni, etc.)

Holiday Food Baskets

Members coordinate this activity.

When: December

Contact: Kathy Parsons

Christmas Giving Tree

Members coordinate this activity. Consists of individual gifts and a Christmas Dinner.

When: December

Contact: Corrine Hahn

Financial Donations

Martha Circle supports various agencies such as Lutheran Homes, Catskill Area Hospice, and Lutheran World Relief.

When: On going

Contact: JoAnn Winslow

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