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Food Insecurity and Social Determinants of Health

By: Charlotte Haberaecker

October 5, 2022

Eighty percent of a person’s health is influenced by social determinants of health such as access to food, housing, transportation, equitable economic opportunities, and more. Join us on October 7 for a Strength & Service Series webinar to hear about USDA’s work to end hunger, reduce diet-related diseases, and advance health equity.

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Joining the Fight to End Hunger—and Recognize Food as Medicine

October 4, 2022

By: Sarah Dobson

We joined hundreds of elected officials, advocates and leaders at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health to focus on reducing food insecurity and health disparities for people across the country.

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The Robots are Here

September 28, 2022

By: Charlotte Haberaecker

Innovative technology is crucial to our future. We're working with our partners and technology providers to create solutions that enable Lutheran social ministry organizations to address the needs of the community.

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Heritage, Vision and Mission: How Lutheran Services in America is Building a Healthier Future

September 12, 2022

By: Cameron Zargar, Experience Care

The Lutheran Services in America network has over 150 years of dedicated service in the way of caring for older adults in America. In a guest blog post, Cameron Zargar of Experience Care writes that the most remarkable thing about our network has been our ability to maintain the highest standard of care for older adults with diverse needs despite a challenging environment and workforce shortage.

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Alligators and Lutheran Social Ministry

September 6, 2022

By: Charlotte Haberaecker

Our member SpiriTrust Lutheran welcomed WallyGator, a 70-pound, 5.5-foot alligator, to its facilities. It reminded Charlotte Haberaecker of the extraordinary efforts Lutheran social ministry organizations make to care for people and ensure they live a full and abundant life.

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Reflections: In gratitude for all that you do

As leaders of organizations centered and rooted in faith, we draw strength from each other as we persist in our mission to bring hope and healing to people.

I began a weekly CEO Update at the start of the pandemic because I thought it was important to stay in touch and communicate through a dark and uncertain time. As one of the largest nonprofit health and human services networks that cares for one in 50 people in America, we were hit especially hard by the pandemic.

While some CEO Updates were about important advocacy issues or programs, others were more reflective. I always received feedback from member CEOs on the reflections—notes like “I really needed that today” which kept me going.

One of my board members suggested that I compile the reflections together. As I look back, it’s clear that where we thought we’d be along the way changed—often—and mostly in ways that brought more challenges and hardships to Lutheran social ministry.

What was also clear was the extraordinary leadership, creativity and perseverance that you and leaders throughout the network demonstrated—examples of true leadership to adapt to never-before-seen situations and lead your teams with grace and courage. Lutheran social ministry stood up when we were most needed and you and your teams are the Front Line Heroes that we lift up for your life-saving work.

These Reflections are dedicated to you—for your remarkable leadership and our extraordinary journey together.

Extravagance of Grace

Today is the 505th anniversary of the Reformation when Martin Luther shared his theological insight that God’s gift of grace in Jesus Christ frees us from being focused on ourselves and opens us to care for others. Or as CEO Summit Theologian-in-Residence Pastor Mark Huber once put it, “it means it’s not about us.”

How is this relevant or reflected in Lutheran social ministry organizations today?

The foundation of our work is that all people have dignity and worth—not because of anything they do or don’t do but simply because they are—and that they are valued by God. As Lutheran social ministry, we create the space where people experience God’s grace through our care and compassion. It’s the why behind our work and reflected in how we do our work, in relationship with our neighbor, no matter who are neighbor is, where they’re from, or what they do.

So why does this matter?

God’s grace is extravagant and is revealed in the beauty and light we let into people’s lives, to remove the barriers that hold them back from achieving their potential and to empower them to realize their dreams. It’s why we persevere despite having to continually pivot and be stretched and stressed. It’s our calling, our vocation.

In the midst of our challenges and an uncertain future, may we remember that our presence matters, that our work brings more light and beauty into people’s lives, and that we do not do this work alone.