The ECUMENICAL SERVICE AWARD, which is presented each year at the annual meeting in the Spring. In 2012, the award was presented to Rev. Thomas Albright (at left with wife, Carolyn). Rev. Albright is lead pastor at Ripple, an emerging, Anabaptist, missional community church in Allentown, PA. Tom and his wife, Carolyn, moved to the city in 2009, leaving their home in the suburbs, to follow God’s call to urban ministry. Tom is an ordained pastor (Franconia Mennonite Conference) and a high school career and transition coordinator for special needs youth. Tom is a trained Spiritual Director and has interest in applying restorative practices in urban settings.
Ripple is a group of people who are “moving closer to Jesus as our center”-- Christ-centered and community focused. Ripple is a diverse group of people from varied racial, economic, spiritual, ecumenical and educational backgrounds, all seeking God’s transformation in our lives. It has a special ministry outreach to homeless and formerly homeless persons, seeking to empower them to share their talents and faith. Life in the city is unpredictable, messy, intense, rewarding, life giving, holy and transformative. Tom lives by faith that this is God’s work, and is excited by the Ripples that are happening around Lehigh Valley, as we walk the streets, eat together (we enjoy local ethnic restaurants), listen to one another, celebrate and mourn together.
Ripple seeks to develop leadership amongst people and to develop partnerships and support within and beyond the urban community. Ripple hosts a once a month food pantry, partners with other churches to provide regular community dinners and food distributions, hosts Bible study table discussions and worship gatherings. Our desire is to join in God’s work here in the city.
Tom sees miracles happening in the city as part of God’s manifestations of His work and love for the people. He accepts this award on behalf of all the people making up Ripple and the many people making positive ripples in the city.
Ecumenical Service Award Winners
LEHIGH COUNTY CONFERENCE OF CHURCHES