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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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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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