Today’s Front Line Hero: Compass Housing Alliance

By: Caitlyn Gudmundsen

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Today’s Front Line Hero is Compass Housing Alliance, which has made significant adjustments to protect its guests, residents, and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. Located in Seattle, WA, Compass Housing Alliance provides essential services and affordable housing for people who are homeless, and those with low-income. The organization is rooted..

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Today’s Front Line Hero: Lutheran Life Villages

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

By: Caitlyn Gudmundsen

Today’s Front Line Hero is Lutheran Life Villages, which is publicly thanking its staff for their hard work during the COVID-19 pandemic, including posting messages of gratitude on billboards. Lutheran Life Villages is a senior living facility with four campuses in Northeast Indiana, and is committed to ensuring a welcoming..

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Today’s Front Line Hero: Lutheran Social Services of Nevada

June 16, 2020

By: Caitlyn Gudmundsen

Today’s Front Line Hero is Lutheran Social Services of Nevada (LSSN), which is providing food pantry services every day during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lutheran Social Services of Nevada (LSSN) has provided services in Las Vegas for more than 25 years, and is a trusted source of support in the community...

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Today’s Front Line Hero: Lutheran Social Services of New York

June 15, 2020

By: Caitlyn Gudmundsen

Today’s Front Line Hero is Lutheran Social Services of New York (LSSNY), which is making efforts to recognize the unsung heroes of the pandemic. Lutheran Social Services of New York (LSSNY) has sustained and even amplified its much-needed services in New York throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. LSSNY continues to serve..

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Today’s Front Line Hero: Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota

June 12, 2020

By: Caitlyn Gudmundsen

Today’s Front Line Hero is Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSSMN), which is providing much needed resources to its community in times of unrest and uncertainty. LSSMN hosted a donation drive to support community members impacted by grocery store closures, damaged businesses, and transportation challenges, and saw an outpouring of generosity from people all across Minnesota!

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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.