June 14, 2024                             

What a blast we had last Friday at the Salem Convention Center downtown!  It was a pivotal moment in SLF’s history, as we celebrated 28 years of Sam’s leadership and pointed ahead to the new chapter under Kyle.  Two great storytellers, one great team and mission.  The Story Continues …

Sam and Kyle tag-teamed the audience through our program, which chronicled the many activities our team engages to help partners in the neighborhoods.  We provided updates on SLF’s products and services, i.e. Lightning Rods (field staff),                                                                                                Community Partnership Teams (CPTs), and the CaN (Churches as Neighborhood) Centers network.

The event’s apex was our signature story featuring Oak Park Church and The Wellness Table.  When everything grinds to a halt due to Covid, what does a small church do?  As pastors Matt and Abbey Ingalls, shared:  “look out the front door and see who God will teach you to love.”  In the spring of 2023, an encampment of 25-30 people appeared on Oak Park’s front lawn.  How did the congregation respond?  By sharing cookies and getting to know names and stories!  Inspired in part by another CaN Center down the street – Grace Community Church and it’s Kindness Closet on Tuesdays – Oak Park started The Wellness Table on Thursdays.  More than 40-50 guests per week enjoy a meal, a clothing closet, friendship, and connections to 15 different service providers like Church@the Park, ARCHES, and the Dept. of Human Services.  Lives are changing among the guests … and the congregation.  Its a beautiful story of hospitality, stretched comfort zones, and love.

We’re grateful for those who were able to attend the Lunch or Dessert, and the event will be available on Vimeo soon. There’s still time to invest in the future of SLF by using our donation link.  www/salemlf.org/ donate  Thanks!

As we head into Summer and Sam’s last day on December 31, 2024,  we are so very grateful for all the people-of-faith and people-of goodwill who care about the neighbors and neighborhoods of Salem-Keizer.  Shalom!