“May the churches be communities of healing and compassion, and may we seed the Good News so that justice will grow and God’s deep peace rest on the world.” Msg of the tenth Assembly of the World Council of Churches 2013, Busan, South Korea.
The Germania of Poughkeepsie Men and Ladies Singers join with First Lutheran each year for three events: Oktoberfest, a German language Advent Service (Weihnacht) and for Good Friday worship in German (Karfreitag). Our connection has been strong since the mid-1800s, when German immigrants founded both the Germania Singing Society and this congregation – the German-speaking First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Poughkeepsie.
Habitat for Humanity
First Lutheran’s close partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dutchess County (HHDC) began in 2013 when our congregation invited HHDC to use our former Christian education building (Wetzel Hall) at 45 Catharine Street as its headquarters (2013-2019). As part of a global, nonprofit housing organization operated on ecumenical Christian principles, HHDC seeks to put God’s love into action through constructing, rehabilitating and preserving homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their housing options. First Lutheran affirms HHDC’s policy of welcoming volunteers and supporters from all backgrounds and serving people in need of decent housing regardless of race or religion.
In addition to hosting HHDC at our church, members of First Lutheran have provided hands-on assistance for various local Habitat building projects, including both the 2014 and 2019 Habitat/Thrivent “Faith” builds in partnership with other local congregations in our community, and a number of other rehabilitation projects in our immediate North Poughkeepsie neighborhood. We have made our Fellowship Hall available to HHDC for volunteer recognition and training events and as the send-off site for major community-wide initiatives such as the “Neighborhood Make A Difference Home Repair Day” where 400 area volunteers gathered for a send-off blessing and a noontime potluck for volunteers and homeowners. Those members who don’t have the technical skills to be part of building crews have stepped up to prepare meals for building crews or to assist with landscaping and fundraising projects.
Our pastor serves on the Board of HHDC and a number of our members also volunteer at the Habitat ReStore, located at 8 Neptune Road off Route 9 in Poughkeepsie. Habitat ReStore sells high quality items at discounted prices in its 20,000 square-foot retail space, accepting large and small donations daily. All proceeds from ReStore support HHDC’s mission. Although the administrative offices for HHDC have been consolidated into the 8 Neptune Road location, the Executive Director of HHDC will retain her office at 45 Catharine Street. Training and recognition events for HHDC also will continue to be hosted at First Lutheran through our ongoing partnership in ministry.
For more information please visit Habitat’s web site
The Lutheran Care Center
We are pleased to be in a new partnership in ministry with The Lutheran Care Center (LCC), a licensed, skilled nursing care center with 160 beds that is part of The Lutheran Care Network. Beginning in February, 2015, Pastor Deborah has been leading the mid-week worship service with Holy Communion at 10:15 a.m. on Wednesdays with the help of First Lutheran volunteers. She also assists the Chaplain, Pastor John Heller, in providing orientation to new staff and pastoral care to residents who come from all faith traditions, as well as to day program participants in the Adult Care/Extended Family center. The Lutheran Care Center’s mission is to care for people’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Our link through this partnership has enabled First Lutheran to join with LCC residents in worshipping together on Thanksgiving Eve and Ash Wednesday, and for members of our choir provide festive Christmas caroling. We anticipate a deepening of this partnership as we work together to open the Worship Respite Care Center.
The New Deliverance Church of Salvation and Praise
First Lutheran has offered hospitality and a home to the New Deliverance congregation led by Pastor Ruby McRae, an African American Pentecostal congregation worshipping on Sunday afternoons with Wednesday evening Bible Studies.
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Food Pantry
On a weekly basis, food that has been donated by members and friends of First Lutheran is delivered to the food pantry at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
Vassar College Choral Directing Internship
For the past several years, First Lutheran has invited Vassar College music majors with interest in choral directing, to lead rehearsals and conduct our choir on Sunday mornings. Through the generosity and mentoring of our Music Director and organist, Eric Hepp, this program has proved to be a mutual blessing to our congregation and the respective student interns involved.