The parable of the good Samaritan is one of radical hospitality, in which one person sees another’s suffering, crosses the social and political divide that separates them, and takes decisive action to provide the personal and practical care needed.
Jesus said this is what it means to be a neighbor.
Our Outreach and Social Justice team works to identify where we as a community can best help with God’s loving work in the world. Then, in community, we strive to act fearlessly, generously, and with compassion on the behalf of neighbors in need: the homeless, the disadvantaged, the vulnerable, the hungry, the strangers, and the sick.
There are five objectives that guide our outreach and social justice efforts at Good Sam.
Outreach is the ongoing, dynamic process of discerning what God is doing in our community, and then organizing ourselves to join that work. This involves assessing, establishing, and supporting valuable service programs and agencies — but it’s also more than that. As we seek to engage in the vibrant work of God, we grow in our relationship with God and with each other. Sharing God’s love with others is part of our faith journey. It’s also a never-ending adventure.
God works through communities. To help demonstrate God’s love for the world, we strive to foster a supportive sense of belonging, hospitality, sharing, and caring within our own congregation. People are drawn to such a community; they sense God’s presence within it. Outreach is a vision of our community that’s expanded to embrace everyone God cares about — which is everyone.
God’s work in our world is transformative, challenging and changing those aspects of our society that are unjust or lack compassion. As we join in that work, we acknowledge that part of the necessary change may take place within ourselves.
Putting Action to Words
Sheltering the homeless
We’ve volunteered in Corvallis inclement weather homeless shelters for men and women, and we’ve raised funds to support the Jackson Street Youth Shelter and the Corvallis School District’s homeless education fund. We’ve hosted dinner and provided financial support for Benton Habitat for Humanity work groups building low income housing. We’ve also supported the Corvallis Daytime Drop-In Center, which provides important services to the homeless population.
Helping victims of violence
We raise funds and awareness for the victims of domestic violence through a Valentine’s Day concert, as well as a designated offering donated to the Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence (CARDV).
Feeding the hungry
We collect food on Sundays and at a harvest festival in the fall and donate it to local food banks and programs that serve the poor and fight hunger in Corvallis.
Welcoming immigrants and refugees
We collected and delivered Welcome Kits of household items to refugee families newly arrived from Iraq, Somalia, or Nepal. We helped establish a no-interest loan program to help immigrants pay immigration and citizenship fees. We hosted community presentations on immigration to promote understanding and compassion for immigrants. We provide ongoing meeting space, volunteers, and a welcoming atmosphere for the Crossroads English Conversation School, serving women from foreign lands drawn to Corvallis by the presence of Oregon State University.
Helping those in poverty
We regularly support We Care and Vina Moses FISH, two programs that provide one-time financial aid to local low-income families facing financial crises that may place them at risk of homelessness. Internationally, we’ve worked through Episcopal Relief and Development’s Pennies to Prosperity Program, providing microloans to help people in impoverished countries establish small businesses and raise themselves out of poverty.
Promoting healthcare for all
We’re a member of Healthcare for All Oregon, a coalition of over 120 churches and organizations promoting a statewide system of healthcare that is universal, accessible, affordable, publicly funded, and privately delivered. We’re also long-standing supporters of the Hope and Wholeness Counseling, a pastoral care counseling center that provides services with sliding scale fees based upon income.
Each month, we designate a particular social service organization for financial support through special collections on Sundays. (You can find it announced in your Sunday service bulletin.) Church members have responded generously to support the work of the following.
If you’d like to contribute to our monthly designated offering, please make out a check to “Church of the Good Samaritan,” write “designated offering” in the memo line, put it in a designated offering envelope found in the pews, and place it in the plate during the regular offertory. At the end of each month, we write a single check from Good Sam to the organization.