Snow tubing and a Games Night were on the January schedule for the Youth of St. Stephen Lutheran Church, Marlborough, but those social activities were sandwiched between events where they reach out and help others, something they are drawn to just about every month.
In December, teens joined friends from other churches that are part of LIPY (Lutheran Interparish Youth) to shop for and wrap Christmas gifts for children in need in Central Massachusetts. Participating families and others in the congregation donated $525 for this event.
A week later, the teens, younger kids and parents came together to wrap 215 sweatshirts in just 90 minutes, as a service to the Marlborough-based non-profit, Sweats4Vets. Church members and friends also donated sweatshirts and wrapping paper. Sweats 4 Vets collects new Boston/ New England sports-themed sweatshirts and wraps and distributes them to homeless veterans in the greater Boston and Worcester areas for Christmas.
January 11 was the date of a visit to Hudson’s Fresh Start Furniture Bank. St. Stephen youth had collected new pillows and shower curtain liners, but also brought supplies to create housewarming gifts with a bucket holding a broom, dustpan and cleaning products. They completed each present with a large bow. Fresh Start is a volunteer-based organization that provides free furniture and home goods to people in need.
Next on the teen calendar is a Youth vs Adult Trivia Contest on Friday, February 7 at 6:30 pm at the church. Giving back, however, is never far from the minds of St. Stephen youth, as they are planning and raising funds for a mission trip to Maine in April.
For more information about the church, visit www.saintstephenlutheran.com or the church’s Facebook page. Saint Stephen is a member of the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (www.elca.org) . The church is a Reconciling in Christ congregation, inviting people of every gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, ability, marital status, or class. Parishioners come from Marlborough, Hudson, Berlin, Northborough, Southborough, Westborough, Shrewsbury, Sudbury, Stow, and Bolton. Sunday Worship is at 10 am, with Sunday School for all ages at 9:00.
“Voting 101,” the inaugural program of the new Micah Center for Social Justice Learning and Practice, will take place at St. Stephen Lutheran Church, 537 Bolton St., Marlborough, on Wednesday, January 15 at 7 pm. Snow date is January 22.
Guest speaker Stephen Kerrigan, Marlborough City Clerk, will not only go over the basics of voting, but will also explain how to participate in the recently adopted early voting for the March 3 Presidential Primary that takes place February 24-28. Early voters can cast their ballots in person or by mail. The public is invited to attend Voting 101. There will be a Portuguese translator available.
In addition to early voting, Kerrigan will discuss “registration, the absentee ballot process, and how to keep your voting status active.” Voters have options that vary from appearing in person at City Hall to staying home and going online. Kerrigan will also answer questions. “I am excited, and looking forward to this event,” Kerrigan said. “It is very important to exercise your right to vote.”
The Micah Center was begun as an initiative of St. Stephen Lutheran Church, but has attracted community members as individuals and from other organizations, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metrowest, and the Marlborough Public Library. The center’s goal is to lift up the good work being done in the area and examine the ideas that drive that good work. In addition to voting, the center will offer programs on three other topics this year: human trafficking, housing insecurity, and immigration.
Deb Roberts of Marlborough chairs the Micah Center committee. She notes that “there are many social topics that we all need further education on to bring awareness and promote meaningful discussion followed by meaningful change.” The committee includes Sandra Austin, Mary Patricia Bailey, Margaret Cardello, Chris Duane, Samantha Gogan, St. Stephen Pastor Joseph Graumann, Peg Harbert, Pam Narahara, Marilyn Perry, and Melanie Whapham. Additional members are very welcome. If you would like to become involved, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
FOR YOUR COMMUNITY CALENDAR
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 15
St. Stephen Lutheran Church
537 Bolton St., Marlborough MA
Registration, new early voting process, absentee ballots, voter status
Free event, open to the public
Sponsored by the new Micah Center for Social Justice Learning and Practice