Matthew 25 Initiative Grant!

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St. Lazarus Mission in Dayton, Ohio has been awarded a dollar for dollar matching grant through the ACNA’s Matthew 25 Initiative! For St. Lazarus, a small organization with a big vision, this grant comes at a critical time.  As we are part of one another, we were encouraged by Bishop Morse to invite the whole diocese to partner with us to achieve the full amount of this grant.  Some have asked us to fill you in a bit more about the grant, about what we are doing, and what we hope to accomplish together.

 What or Who is St. Lazarus Mission?

St. Lazarus is a mission work, set apart by Bishop Daniel Morse, for the purpose of establishing non-traditional parishes in nursing care facilities.  Our charter is to seek, gather, and care for Christ’s scattered sheep living in nursing homes.  We enable, as much as possible, the full function of the people of God as a local expression of the Body of Christ in these places.  My wife, Carol, and I have been working in the nursing home mission field for 25 years.  Our vision is to teach other churches nationwide to join us in this work.

St. Lazarus is not just a “nice” ministry.  We are not occasional visitors of “little old ladies.”  We are not merely providing church services.  What we are and do is different and much more substantial.  Our ministry uniquely adopts everyone in the nursing home — residents and families, staff and management – and we seek to become an integral part of the community we love.  As one senior manager at one nursing home we serve said, “You have become part of the facility.”  In this way we minister both to and with people, enabling the least of these, destitute and dying, forgotten and put away, to be the local church in that place.

Dear Ones, America’s nursing homes contain 1.4 million people, and as 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day, the number of people over 85 will triple by the year 2050.  There is a growing urgency for the church to be present in nursing homes, all 16,000 of them.  Currently, St. Lazarus is in three nursing facilities, with a fourth being added in the fall.  We have one priest, a deacon postulant, and over forty faithful volunteers that help us serve each location, and yet, our reach is limited.  St. Lazarus Mission’s foremost priority is to teach other churches to adopt nursing facilities near them. To do this, we need resources that until God provided this grant, we did not have.  We are a ministry that serves the poor without a traditional tithe base.  To have financial resources, we have turned to applying for grants and asking for external support.  Imagine our encouragement to be told we received an $8,400 grant that will be matched dollar for dollar by the Matthew 25 Initiative!

What is the Matthew 25 initiative?

The Matthew 25 Initiative is an ACNA ministry funded by an anonymous donor. Its purpose is to expand and develop ministries in North America that are engaged in working, living, and serving on the margins of society with some of the most vulnerable and under-resourced populations, fulfilling Jesus’ call to love “the least of these.”

 The purpose of the grant

The matching funds nature of this grant will enable us to put flesh on building a better base for ongoing prayer and resource support.  Second, we desire to use this grant to spark a movement, through engaging other parishes as we conduct workshops teaching them how to begin and providing them expert ongoing support after they launch their efforts.  Third, we want to continue to multiply trained leaders with godly character to lead nontraditional parish plants within nursing homes.

To facilitate “Nursing Home Workshops,” we need to produce compelling videos, purchase audio-visual equipment, author and print informative literature, and host relevant web-based support materials for fledgling planting efforts.  The Church must be told there is a need if she is going to respond to it!  We also need to travel to churches, ACNA events, synods, and mission gatherings.  Through these, by God’s grace, we can begin a cycle of teaching and make good progress toward building a stronger support constituency and capacity to engage the enemy in significantly more nursing homes.  Presently, we do not have these capabilities.  Our resources have always gone into front-line ministry.  Truly, this grant can help expand the front-line!  It can seed a movement and fulfill the Matthew 25 Initiative’s intent to help our work grow beyond the point the resources the grant itself will enable.

We are asking for your help

To a Mission like ours, this is a tremendous opportunity, and I ask you to please help us financially, most especially this year, between now and May, 2017, the time period during which the matching nature of the grant from the Matthew 25 Initiative is pledged.  For every dollar in new donations to St. Lazarus Mission in this period, the grant will match it 100%.  The initial period is our most crucial time.  The grant was specifically requested to enable us grow our capacity to reach more people in nursing homes, and still more importantly, to help parishes, perhaps yours, to do the same through education, training, and ongoing support.  If you are able to pledge or give, please let us know so we may plan accordingly.

For more information, please contact us at stlazarusmission@gmail.com or by phone at 937-424-8624.  All donations are tax deductible.  Please make checks payable to:  St. Lazarus Mission, write “Matt.25” in the memo, and mail them to 4170 Beech Tree Ct. Dayton, OH 45424.

Thank you in advance for your prayers and any help you may provide,

Fr. Chris Herman

Vicar

St. Lazarus Mission

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