The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


If it's Wednesday, it must be church

After 25 years of trying, Syracuse church connects with community

In south Syracuse, N.Y., Atonement Lutheran Church has been trying since 1985 to make a difference in the lives of the poor community it serves.

Atonement Lutheran Church“It’s one of the poorest in the nation,” Nelson W. Gaetz, a pastor of Atonement, said of the community where hunger, homicide and hopelessness abound. Broken families are common along with unemployment, crime and drug use.

Atonement’s projects, including housing, day-care, after-school and community center programs, help improve conditions in the area. But in the past, residents have shown little interest in joining the 105-year-old church. That changed by adding a Wednesday night service last year.

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