Reaching out: From the suburbs to the city

Manlius Lutheran church donates time, money to Habitat, Rescue Mission

"What do we do with what we have?" That question has been part of a central theme for congregates of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church since 2007, when Rev. John Ferrie became pastor.

"It's not just about money or budget," said parishioner Tim Coleman on stewardship. "It's about what we do with what we have."

That said, church members have since taken heed. Their most recent outreach led them to the city of Syracuse where they helped two local nonprofit agencies: the Rescue Mission and Habitat for Humanity. Their project, which involved transforming a Rescue Mission storage room into a family recreation center, began last summer. Its purpose was to revitalize its Spiritual Life Center.

"They've got an incredible campus and they impact so many people on a daily basis," Coleman said.

In 2008, the Rescue Mission, whose headquarters are located on Gifford Street, served more than 215,000 meals to the hungry and provided more than 65,000 overnight stays.

And demand continues to increase, Coleman said.

RM representatives figured the cost to build this new concept would amount to $3,100 -- if supplies were purchased at a big box retail store. But church member and carpenter Jim Follette had a better idea. An active Habitat for Humanity volunteer, Follette suggested building cabinets at the charity's workshop rather than spending the money at a retail outlet. At the same time, the church would make efforts to raise the same dollar amount it would take to make a store purchase, but instead donate it to Habitat.

"This [idea] fit into pastor's daily challenge of, 'What do you do with what you have?' versus 'We only have so much, what can we do?'" Coleman said. "[It's] a different way of looking at it."

The church raised $3,500 through two events -- a dinner and silent auction. Additionally, the nonprofit community group, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, matched $1 for every $3 from the dinner, totaling a contribution of $1,000. This monetary donation, along with food and merchandise gifts made by local restaurants and businesses, made it possible for the Manlius church to deliver its promised $3,100 to Habitat for Humanity. Remaining funds went to the Rescue Mission.

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