Today’s Front Line Hero: Liberty Lutheran

By: Caitlyn Gudmundsen

May 8, 2020

Today’s Front Line Hero is Liberty Lutheran. Rooted in more than 100 years of history, Liberty is a non-profit organization with a purpose that is strongly connected to its faith-based roots.

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Today’s Front Line Hero: Liberty Lutheran Community, The Village at Penn State

May 8, 2020

By Caitlyn Gudmundsen, Senior Manager of Program Development and Outreach Today’s Front Line Hero is Liberty Lutheran’s retirement community, The Village at Penn State, which continues to offer fun activities for residents to stay active throughout the pandemic. Located in State College, Pennsylvania, The Village is proud of its close..

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Today’s Front Line Hero: Wellspring Lutheran Services

May 7, 2020

By: Caitlyn Gudmundsen

Today’s Front Line Hero is Wellspring Lutheran Services, which is celebrating National Nurses Week, and honoring the hard work of front line nursing home staff.

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Today’s Front Line Hero: Lutheran Home of the Good Shepherd

May 6, 2020

By: Caitlyn Gudmundsen

Today’s Front Line Hero is Lutheran Home of the Good Shepherd (LHGS), which has been working hard to meet the physical and spiritual needs of its residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Today’s Front Line Hero: Lutheran Church Charities

May 5, 2020

By: Caitlyn Gudmundsen

Today’s Front Line Hero is Lutheran Church Charities (LCC), and the LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry, which has adapted their services to offer virtual visits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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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.