Bishop Alfred Schlert was among a handful of faith leaders asked to address the recent annual meeting of the Lehigh Conference of Churches, an interfaith organization that provides social services in the Allentown area.
Bishop Schlert, along with faith leaders from the Methodist, United Church of Christ and Baptist traditions, were introduced by the Rev. Dr. Larry Pickens, the conference’s ecumenical director. The theme of the talks was “From Lamentation to Hope.”
Theologically speaking, Bishop Schlert told the group in their remote meeting, laments are an expression of hope in God. “A lament is a cry for help, but it also is a cry of trust,” he said.
“Lamenting, including, perhaps, lamenting the times in which we live right now, is not desperation,” he said. “We are called to persevere, to offer prayerful laments as expressions of hope.
“These expressions allow us in our faith,” he said, “to go forward, and to know that there is a path to redemption.”
The Lehigh Conference of Churches is the group that partners with Catholic Charities to feed the hungry at the Ecumenical Kitchen in Allentown. Catholic Charities operates the soup kitchen four days per week, and the Conference operates it the other three days.