SOCIAL JUSTICE WORK
"When the church hears the cry of the poor, it must denounce the social structures that give rise to and perpetuate the misery from which the cry arises."
- Archbishop Oscar Romero
Mission Initiatives in Compassion, Justice, and Community Building
The church is located in the La Mesa neighborhood, bounded by Central to the south, Wyoming to the east, Lomas to the north, and Louisiana to the west. We are near the Fairgrounds in the heart of the International District. The church sees its mission as grounded in this neighborhood but global in reach. We seek to serve the needs and aspirations of those who live in this community and share life together. We participate in direct service efforts, as well as seeking more systemic justice remedies. Below is a sampling of some of our ongoing work.
Feast of Hope
This is a Thanksgiving Day meal that serves some 1,500 meals to the community. The majority of dinners are served to those who come to the church for the feast, but several hundred meals are also delivered to residents of homeless shelters, special needs housing programs, and home-bound senior citizens. We also have a clothing pantry for the day and a children's art area. Several hundred volunteers come to serve and experience the richness of a community celebration.
Bread for the World
We participate in advocacy efforts through annual letter writing campaigns and direct contact to encourage our state and federal lawmakers to insure just hunger policies.
This organization began after World War II to rebuild food systems destroyed in the conflict and has worked ever since to develop appropriate, sustainable agricultural systems globally, especially in poor communities throughout the developing world. They are sensitive to introduce crops and animals that are a good fit to that context and maximize indigenous empowerment.
This is a designation by the PC(USA) Hunger Program that the church has achieved a significant level of environmental practices in its life, including energy efficiency, reducing our carbon footprint, water conservation, recycling, eliminating plastics, and providing on-going education about climate change and its ethical implications for communities of faith. La Mesa Presbyterian Church believes we are created to be faithful stewards of God’s Creation. By working together to protect our environment, we grow stronger as a body of faith.
La Mesa Garden Park
This is a joint venture, with La Mesa Elementary School and East Central Ministries, to create a green space in the heart of the neighborhood. It will function as a community gathering place and an outdoor classroom for La Mesa students to learn about agriculture and urban gardening.
La Mesa Elementary School
We are adjacent to this school of approximately 800 children, all of whom are eligible for the federal free lunch program. Our partnership includes opening our building for meeting space, support for teachers, emergency assistance for families of children in need, supporting a uniform scholarship fund, and serving as fiscal agent for some after-school programs. Our La Mesa Arts Academy is a centerpiece of the school's art and music after-school enrichment.
This is an after-school program that provides free art instruction for K-5th graders from La Mesa Elementary School three days a week. There are offerings in visual, musical , dance, and the dramatic arts taught by variety of skilled instructors. There is an art show at the end of every semester for the children to share their work with the larger community. The program began as an all-volunteer effort in 2006. To make a donation to Arts Academy, click on the following link:
Hopkins Center for Children and Families
A Program of Centro Savila -The church has sponsored a satellite office of the Samaritan Counseling Center since 2005. When Samaritan closed its operations citywide in 2017, a group of advocates came together to continue the work of providing quality affordable, bilingual therapy to families in the community, many who are uninsured or on Medicaid. Centro Savila, a behavioral health program was willing to assimilate the program. The Hopkins Center name is to honor Dr. Paul and LaDonna Hopkins for community service. There are two full-time therapists, interns from New Mexico Highlands University, and a navigator with the PATHWAYS program of UNM Hospital to help people access needed social services.
The church sponsors community blood drives in partnership with Vitalant Blood Services.
This is the lead agency that coordinates a city wide effort called Albuquerque Heading Home, that has housed over 600 of the most medically vulnerable people experiencing homelessness over the past three years. They also operate a men's shelter program called the Albuquerque Opportunity Center (AOC) which also has a respite care program for homeless men leaving local hospitals. Heading Home is also responsible for operating the City's Winter Shelter housing 600 per night and transitioning it to a year-round, integrative effort with a number of sites downtown and scattered throughout the city. The church sponsors a Home Team of volunteers who support people moving into a more permanent residence. La Mesa was instrumental in the founding of the AOC in 2004.
This is a fund the pastor uses to assist people in the church and community with emergency needs, like rent payments, medicine, and transportation. The fund is replenished every month by generous members and friends of the congregation.
New Mexico Women's Global Pathways
The church has been a longtime supporter of this grassroots effort to assist and empower refugee families coming to Albuquerque from Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
East Central Ministries
The church partners with this faith-based community development non-profit organization that provides a community clinic, a community garden and urban farming micro-enterprises, The Common Good Thrift Store, and youth programs.
The church is a member institution of Albuquerque Interfaith, a community organization comprised of 25 congregations, schools, unions and non-profits, who bring their faith and democratic values into public life by shaping policies and advocating in the following arenas - public education, immigrant's rights, workforce training and GED preparation, and mental health and addiction funding and services.