The Rev. Miranda Hammer's vision remains the roots of what CGN Buffalo is dedicated to and committed to: "We are the Community of Good Neighbors, called to share in ministry and life together centered in God's grace. As we explore whom God is calling us to be on the East Side of Buffalo, we work together to lift up our neighbor and our neighborhood in ways that are life-giving and reflect the kingdom of God. "
The ways in which we have begun to accomplish and connect to the community is through our weekly Mobile Food Pantry, as an entryway to eradicate food disparity-but we are just beginning. CGN is committed to being an inclusive, sacred, and safe space to discern about God's Word through small group discussions-theological, spiritual, and practical as well as utilizing and engaging Creation by being in the outdoors, meeting Creation and one another with discussions about what God's Word means for us now and how we can work towards liberation and transformative justice now.
CGN is dedicated to being anti-racist, LGTBQIA2+ as well as welcoming everyone regardless of your journey.
If you would like to know more about this community and ways you can be part of it, follow us on Facebook, Instagram,YouTube or contact Pastor Kwame at (716) 768-1998.
We believe that every community is filled with the Holy Spirit; we are here to affirm this good news here on the East Side, the West Side and throughout the wider breath of sacred community.
In the winter of 2019, Pastor Miranda Hammer became involved with a group called VOICE Buffalo. This combined with some courses at United Lutheran Seminary about community organizing sparked the Holy Spirit and led to the development of Community of Good Neighbors. As a mission developer, Pastor Miranda walked the Genesee-Doat neighborhood and spent time listening to what folks wanted/needed from a church. Beginning in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic on May 1st 2020, CGN started in what was Resurrection Lutheran church.
Continuing Resurrections passion for food justice, Community of Good Neighbors came to be a space where people can be fed physically and spiritually with dignity and love. Filling the need for food despite the closure of 3 Doat street, the mobile food pantry developed with the help of Grace Lutheran Church giving us a space to keep our food, and Holy Trinity Lutheran providing their van.
Grounded in Christ and rooted in Acts 4: "the entire community of believers was deeply united in heart and soul to such an extent that they stopped claiming private ownership of their possessions. Instead, they held everything in common; Not a single person in the community was in need because those who had been affluent sold their houses or lands and brought the proceeds.. then distributed the resources" Community of Good Neighbors strives to be an asset to the communities we serve and thankful for the support of so many churches throughout the Upstate New York Synod. With gratitude, Pastor Miranda knows that CGN will be that long-standing presence, under the Rev. Kwame Pitts, starting part time May 2021, and going full time, August 2021.
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The Rev. Kwame Pitts has found herself immersed in justice movements surrounding transformative and revolutionary change. Her name is a dedication to a collective ancestor, Kwame NKrumah, first president of Ghana. It is also a reminder to her of the responsibility and the accountability she has towards her Ancestors which she holds in high stead, and to the call before her of pastoral ministry.
She was first called to Crossroads Lutheran Church, in the Fall of 2019 by the Upstate New York Synod, as well as Campus Pastor for LuMin Campus Ministry-WNY. Pastor Kwame along with her family, moved and adjusted to Buffalo after being a native Chicagoan, the majority of her life.
Previously she served in many aspects of the Metropolitan Chicago Synod of the ELCA, from student to seminarian when she was accepted to the Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago graduating in 2015 with her M.Div and ordained that same year. She also continued her academic and theological journey at the Chicago Theological Seminary with a Master’s of Sacred Theology focused on Ritual Indigenous practices and Trauma justice, set to receive her degree of the STM in Spring 2021.
During her time in Chicago, her focus was also not only on pastoral care and worship life but she was and continues to be a social justice activist, living out her call of faith towards action. She began this journey by co-founding a student social justice organization in 2011, alongside her colleague and friend Rev. Drew Rhineflesch, called Seminarians for Justice at LSTC, which has evolved and continues to be a positive force towards change within the Seminary and throughout the Chicagoland area. In 2013, when the Voting Rights Act was dismantled, Pastor Kwame took to the floor of the 2013 Churchwide Assembly and authored a social policy resolution regarding voting rights for all citizens. Additionally, partnering with the ELCA Racial Justice office under Judith Roberts, she co-partnered to form #ELCAVotes during 2014-2016. She has also been one of the voices that got the resolution surrounding the Emmanuel 9 passed this summer during the 2019 Churchwide Assembly for a Day of Repentance and Healing, creating worship and liturgical resources for congregations throughout the ELCA. Her work continues; she was active in Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation (SOUL), as well as a part of the Emmaus Collective and is navigating where she is able to continue serving in a social justice capacity in the Buffalo metropolitan area.
Pastor Kwame preaches, teaches, professes practically and academically through the lens of a Womanist theologian, which such voices as Dr.Katie G. Canon, one of the founders of Womanist Theology(Ancestor), Dr. Cheryl Pero (Ancestor) Dr. JoAnne Marie Terrell, Dr. Pamela Lightsey, Dr. Beverly Wallace, Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas and Dr. Linda Thomas as well as Liberation theology, including the voice of Dr. James Cone(Ancestor), father of Black Liberation theology, whom Pastor Kwame met during her time at LSTC as well as Dr. Cain Hope Felder(Ancestor), noted biblical scholar of African descent.