Member Faith Community Spotlight:
Salem Evangelical Free Church
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
I recently had the chance to sit down with Pastor Mark Fugere of Salem Evangelical Free Church, a Churches United Member Faith Community. When I asked him, what Salem is all about, he said, “Rediscovering the gospel. It’s about a relational ministry; the gospel travels through relationships.”
I know that is true. My mind went to the shelter where Christ is sighted in people who serve and in those who need to be served today. At Churches United, we have seen the gospel move on days of crisis and heartbreak, and we have seen it on days of absolute rejoicing when someone has found a new home.
Pastor Mark continued by saying that in faith communities [in fact, in any intentional community], we spend a lot of time looking inward. He went on, “Churches United meets a need of our church by providing a bridge back to the community to serve, learn, and connect.”
I know that he means that. Friends from Salem have reached out with active and extremely committed volunteers (one previously even helped to do our house laundry while two others served countless hours in the kitchen), an 8th grader who challenged his whole class to help provide bus passes, thoughtful in-kind donations like work boots, the sweetest and most sacred prayers that Salem’s Member Representative offers at our meetings, and each hand that has made an offering which became financial support of the shelter’s work. This church has welcomed guests each season of FM Sheltering Churches, and we give thanks that friends we meet at the shelter can experience the hospitality that Salem has to offer.
Member Rep. Dave Engstrom says that the Salem’s core values encourage their relationship with Churches United. These values include compassion for physical, spiritual, and emotional needs while maintaining a “kingdom perspective” which recognizes that partnering with others, like Churches United, can be a way to join in on God’s purpose in and for the world. “We are called to demonstrate the love of Christ to others,” Dave says, “ partnering with Churches United is a way to show God’s love to neighbors; to those in need.”
It is wonderful to see the Good News travel through the relationships made between Churches United and Salem. Thank you to Salem and to each Member Faith Community who offers to share the best of their community with those who are experiencing homelessness.
-A letter from Member Relations Director Jen Engquist