COVID RESPONSE
Southeastern Synod ELCA

One Pastor's Story

The Rev. Patti Axel - January 21, 2020

Tonie’s Faith Story


I am Rev. Antoinette (Tonie) Robinson, pastor of Peace Lutheran Church, Memphis TN, and Coordinator for Trinity Ministries, with a heart to serve God’s people. I have been a member of Peace Lutheran Church for 27 years.
 
When I was called to serve the Lord, it was to serve the homeless and the marginalized within the community around the church.  We started serving Monday/Wednesday at Peace Lutheran serving a healthy lunch, free to everyone. With the help of four volunteers, casseroles donated from Lutheran church and individuals we served 48 people when we started. Today we serve 80 to 95 people a week. Often families will come asking for groceries to make out the month.  Because of donations from other churches our pantry has been able to help.  The Monday/Wednesday lunch community was chosen to receive Thanksgiving baskets coordinated through St. Luke Lutheran Church in Germantown, TN. People start signing up in October. From the baskets to an Angel Tree program, sponsored by all the Lutheran ELCA churches around Memphis. We had 83 children signed up for the tree and all have been taken.  This leads to the “The Saturday Before Christmas Event”. Where the children come to get their gift and hear the story of Christ our Lord’s birth.  We feed everyone with snacks and candy and thank you crosses for the wall at Peace. Epiphany Lutheran Church, Living Word Lutheran Church, St. Luke Lutheran Church, has supported Trinity Ministries at Peace Lutheran Church for years. My vision of Christians everywhere working together to serve people who don’t know the love of God is fulfilled through our joint efforts in the community.
 
My passion is for the homeless and I have great joy working with the Room In The Inn program, whereas, Peace Lutheran allows people experiencing homelessness to stay overnight in the church.  The RITI program starts in November to March of the following year.  We serve dinner donated from various churches and individuals each week. A shower which is managed by nurses from LeBounor Hospital and Fedex volunteers. We are hosting Women each week because there is not a shelter for single women in the city of Memphis. We are meeting the need in the community, we can’t handle everyone but, we can handle some for the Lord our God.
 
God called me to serve His people and do it with joy. I am blessed that there are others who are willing to work with me in this journey for the Lord and God said I would not be alone ever.

(Many thanks to Assistant to the Bishop, Rev. Patti Axel, for collecting this story.)