Mission and Outreach begins with service at the local level. LCGS is involved in helping out the community in local programs such as Family Promise (formerly IHN) and Sandwich Ministry.
Through various program areas, the LCGS Women of the ELCA provide services within our church, our community, and even the world.
Select any of these topics for more information on LCGS’s outreach programs…
Good Shepherd is part of Family Promise in Billings, made up of 23 congregations helping homeless families achieve and maintain independence.
Our congregational partners for hosting weeks are Beth Aaron and St. Patricks
Family Promise at LCGS provides a warm, safe environment for the families to return to nightly for a hot meal and clean bed four times a year. Evening hosts provide mentoring relationships to families and activities and homework help to the children.
Being a FP congregation entails lots of volunteer help and support, so please consider what you can do to help. The sign-up board for volunteers goes up in the narthex about two weeks before it’s our turn to host. The following are needs we will have during the week:
- Overnight hosts — We now have comfortable cots to sleep on! Come at 8:00pm to stay the night. The van leaves with the FP guests at 6:00am, so you can be home by 6:15am.
- Dinners — Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday
- Breakfast on Saturday morning — The families enjoy sleeping a little later this morning, so breakfast is served about 8:20am. Families leave a little before 9:00am
- Evening hosts — Come at 5:30pm, have dinner with the families and stay until the overnight hosts come at 8:00pm. Most of the times the families enjoy their own space in their rooms, but you provide a friendly face and conversation if they so desire.
Judy Peterson is the Family Promise coordinator
Living out the compassion of Jesus through apostolic service to homeless families.
Good Shepherd members give regularly to our local Billings Food Bank.
The metal food donation shelf is located outside of the church office and the first weekend of each month is designated as Food Bank Weekend. 100% of money donated on Food Bank Weekend is spent only on food purchases.
In 1999, Pastor Tom Peterman asked seven members of LCGS to attend a 32-hour Parish Nurse program that was coordinated through Cynthia Gustafson and the Northern Rockies Institute of Theology. We had two 8-hour sessions in Billings that were teleconferenced, then we went to Helena to Carroll College for the last 16 hours of classroom education. We had a very impressive ceremony with about 65 nurses participating in this excellent course.
Our group from LCGS started out by writing newsletter articles monthly, sponsoring some health fairs, taking blood pressures monthly, and restocking the First Aid kits around the church. We also worked with the Stephen Ministers, and we stepped in to assist with a servant project begun by another nurse to develop working relationships with some people for transportation to/from doctor appointment and/or visitation. We also helped host blood drives.
Currently, Jan Bechtold, Greta Beam, and Carol Blackwell have continued to take blood pressures the second Sunday of every month and monitor the AED unit located in the narthex. There are some faithful participants who come down the hall each time we offer blood pressure checks, and we have discovered some significant high blood pressure problems as well as a few people with low pressures. We encouraged them to speak with their primary physicians about medications and other steps to take to care for their heart health. The nurses are also very willing to speak with people who have questions about their choices for health care or resources for chronic conditions. We may not have all of the answers, but we are willing to help them find the answers.
We have written a plan for the ushers of what to do in an emergency, as well as encouraging them to take a CPR course. When there have been emergencies during worship or at other times when the community is gathered, we have informally checked back with the person and/or their family to see if there was anything more that we could do for them.
Piecemakers is a quilters group that meets at the church Tuesday mornings at 9 am. Last year, the group assembled more than 400 quilts which were donated to Lutheran World Relief.
Prayer shawls are available in the narthex. For more information on creating or acquiring prayer shawls, please contact the front office at 656-1080
People gather once monthly at the beginning of the Sunday School hour to make sandwiches that will be delivered to the Montana Rescue Mission. It is a small commitment (usually 20 minutes) that has a huge impact on our local community.
Ever wonder what impact we have on the lives of the homeless and poor in Billings, Montana? Each month our congregation prepares about 450 sandwiches that are delivered to the Men’s Shelter kitchen. The Men’s Shelter kitchen provides all meal preparation for not only the Men’s Shelter but also the Family and Children’s Shelter and the Crisis Center. On an average day, over 200 meals are prepared and served. So what is the impact our 450 sandwiches? They become Sunday night dinner and a meal for anyone who comes in hungry. While one of our members was making the delivery a young family walked by. One of the three young daughters tugged at her mom’s shirt and said “Look, Mom they have sandwiches”. The cook asked if they were hungry and they nodded their heads. He handed them a partial bag of sandwiches. That is why we do what we do.
It costs us about $300 each month to purchase the supplies for the sandwiches (peanut butter, jelly, bologna, cheese, and bread). If you would like to make a donation toward this ministry, please put “sandwich ministry” in the memo line of your check or put cash in an envelope and mark the envelope.
Women of the ELCA (WELCA)
All women at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd (LCGS) are members of the women’s group. The Good Shepherd Women are also members of the Beartooth Cluster, which is part of the Montana Synod, which is in turn a part of the larger ELCA women’s organization (WELCA). We currently support nine circles (Bible Studies from the “Gather” magazine) and the Altar Guild (in charge of setting up and organizing communion each week).
The women also have a very active Piecemakers quilters’ group that meets every Tuesday and makes quilts that go to Lutheran World Relief.
The Mission Action committee leads the campaign for school kits and health kits for LWR as well as local schools, baby care kits for LWR, personal care kits for the Rescue Mission, and collecting needed items for Family Services, the women’s and children’s shelter, and the Gateway House (among other agencies in town).
The Good Shepherd Women are the main people responsible for funeral receptions and wedding receptions. We also help stock the kitchen with supplies such as small and large coffee pots, coffee, cookie sheets, cooling racks, pots/pans, etc.
The women are in charge of the flowers on the altar each weekend. There is a sign-up sheet in the narthex for two bouquets every week (currently $10 each), and we encourage the congregation to purchase these bouquets. The bouquets that are not purchased through the congregation come out of the Good Shepherd Women’s funds.
Our annual Bazaar is our main fundraiser. The majority of the money from the Bazaar fundraiser goes to support local area needs, needs within the church and church community, and some needs at the national and world levels. We also host a Thankoffering service in November each year.