For the past several years, as I have traveled around the church speaking to various groups, I always refer to Augsburg Fortress as the “ministry of publishing for the ELCA and the larger Christian community.” It is an important distinction, I think, as opposed to how AF is often referred to as “the publishing house of the ELCA.” That latter phrase has always struck me as rather bureaucratic. It describes, accurately enough, who we are within the organization called the ELCA. But, it doesn’t describe who we are called to be in mission with you.
It’s easy to see how we are in mission with other parts of the church when we consider the development and publication of worship resources such as EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN WORSHIP or faith formation resources such as AKALOO. These are obviously ministry resources. But, sometimes a book’s missional purpose is less obvious. And, so, it was with great pleasure that I was allowed to “eavesdrop” on this email note to Ed Hermann, one of our trade bookstore sales reps, from one of his customers, Adrionna Fike, Youth & Faith Outreach Coordinator at Chesapeake Habitat for Humanity. With permission, I quote it here:
“Yesterday, I took Creating a Habitat for Humanity home, read it at the gym and a bit more before going to bed. I am enjoying so. This book is helping me clearly define my calling to VISTA and my service commitment. Initially, joining Americorps was meant to serve as a moment of transition from the intensely theoretical realm of my gated liberal arts college, back into the experiential world where I feel most confident and productive. I wanted desperately to spend each of my days making connections with people from my heart. I craved to put my faith into action.
I chose Baltimore. I packed my things and moved from New York City, said so long (again) to my wonderful family and home in Los Angeles. Today, I sit behind a desk at Chesapeake Habitat for Humanity, joyfully a member of a brilliant team of activists doing God’s work; encouraging others, giving them the tools and direction to do the same. This book has reminded me of just how vital, this attitude and sense of awareness is in creating a world through the vision of God.
Two days ago, I hit the six month point in my year of service; this book has replenished my spirit, and has reinstated my sense of purpose and will serve as a reference, not only for the completion of my term, but for the rest of my life.”
WOW! It doesn’t get any better than that!
Please share your stories with me. How have the resources we publish helped to nurture your faith? Or, that of someone dear to you? How does our ministry of publishing sustain and help you extend your ministry in your context? You can’t begin to imagine how much it will mean to me and to my colleagues at your ministry of publishing if you will share your stories with us via this blog or a personal email. I look forward to hearing from you!