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Franklin Avenue has a myriad of mission outreaches, including Operation Take a Towel, which ministers mainly to the elderly, the sick and the shutin, holding worship services in nursing homes.


“We take the service to them,” says church member Brenda Bowman. “We’re just there to remind them we’re serving the same God, even though they’re not at home.” Operation Take a Towel is a


ministry option that doesn’t require a large budget, Bowman says. “We may not be able to go out with money, but we can go with a prayer and a word.”


Franklin Avenue avoids duplication of services and increases efficiency through its Love in Action ministry, which brings together all the missions of the church for fellowship and edification. Love in Action allows missions teams to work together jointly on a project, including annual stateside mission trips and a retreat for mission workers.


“There’s strength in numbers and you don’t duplicate services,” says June Pittman, Love in Action coordinator.


Luter’s community outreach has included the Neighborhood Rebuild Project in partnership with Samaritan’s Purse, speeding the repopulation of the St. Roch neighborhood surrounding the church. Samaritan’s Purse built nearly 30 homes during the life of the project.


Franklin Avenue provided sleeping quarters for up to 70 volunteers at a time, paid the salary of a full-time chef to prepare three meals daily for volunteers and the nine Samaritan’s Purse staff members on-site. The church provided the lot that housed Samaritan’s Purse administrative trailers. Space previously reserved for a bookstore and library at Franklin Avenue temporarily housed bunk beds and a kitchen.


Luter says compassion is critical to the church’s mission.


“The church needs to be a place where people know there’s compassion there,” he says. “‘As you’ve done it to the least of these, you’ve done it unto me,’ and that’s our motivation.”


With the 2,000-seat sanctuary jam packed at both Sunday morning worship services, Luter has begun a capital campaign to build a second location in New Orleans East.


COMPASSION IN DARKNESS
At Celebration Church, Healing Hearts for Community Development practices compassion through mental health counseling and substance abuse treatment. It was through HHCD’s Hope Center that Andrea and Eddy Robertson were able to save their marriage.


22 Summer 2012 • onmission.com

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