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Urban Outreach Conference offers new ideas for mission

May 5, 2017 No Comment
Participants encouraged and inspired by the district’s first Urban Outreach Conference.

Participants encouraged and inspired by the East District’s first Urban
Outreach Conference.

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario – On February 11, 45 people from 15 different congregations gathered to discuss outreach efforts in urban centres. Participants were encouraged to speak for 2-3 minutes about their congregation/ministry’s outreach efforts under the categories: small scale, neighbourhood, community service, regional, and social media outreach. After each individual’s presentation, time was given for the group to ask questions and discuss implementing the idea in other contexts.
Some of the ideas that were discussed included:

  • Children’s activities like nursery schools, kids’ clubs, and VBS events at different times of the year and in different locations that would encourage more community participation,
  • Increasing awareness of your congregation in the community by advertising in places like mass transit and bus stops, via social media, holding church activities in malls, neighbourhood parks, and other public places,
  • Presenting interactive booths at community festivals and entering a church float in community parades
  • Finding out the unique needs of your community and developing programs to meet those needs such as food banks, day care, seniors’ services such as social connections and transportation, and ESL.

More general topics were also discussed, such as intercultural ministries, the needs of new immigrants and refugees, and understanding the different gifts that introverts and extroverts bring to a congregation’s outreach efforts and the needs and comfort zones of introvert and extrovert visitors.

The conference was organized by the Evangelism Board of Christ Our King Lutheran Church in Mississauga, especially David Chant and Mark Verlinden, in cooperation with the East District Mission Encourager, Rev. Ron Mohr.

The day flew by, filled with much excited discussion and mutual encouragement by each and every participant, both introverts and extroverts! The conference had several encouraging results including:

  • The decision for groups of congregations to cooperate on at least two projects.
  • Building and sharing a Christmas float to be used by different congregations for parades in different communities.
  • Looking into advertising inside buses and other mass transit in East District urban centres.
  • The decision to develop greater communication among the mission leaders of our congregations through email and/or social media.
  • The decision to plan a follow-up conference for spring 2017.

For more information about this event or to get involved in the group, please contact David Chant (dwchant@sympatico.ca) or download the meeting notes from the LCC East District website.

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Rev. Ron Mohr is Mission Encourager for the East District of Lutheran Church–Canada.