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Rising to the COVID-19 Challenge

By: Christopher Findlay

April 20, 2020

A Q&A with Wartburg President and CEO Dr. David J. Gentner

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Today’s Front Line Hero: Luther Home of Mercy

April 20, 2020

By: Caitlyn Gudmundsen

Today’s Front Line Hero is Luther Home of Mercy in Williston, OH, which is working to meet the physical and spiritual needs of those they serve. Luther Home of Mercy serves adults with developmental disabilities through a variety of ministries, including residential options, supported living, and day programs.

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Today’s Front Line Hero: Concordia Place

April 17, 2020

Today’s Front Line Hero is Concordia Place, which reopened its doors on Monday, April 13th as an emergency childcare center for children of essential workers. Concordia Place provides community programs addressing key social needs for children, youth, adults, and seniors, with locations throughout Chicago, IL. Concordia Place is guided by..

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Today’s Front Line Hero: Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota

April 16, 2020

By: Caitlyn Gudmundsen

Today’s Front Line Hero is Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota (LSS SD) for their creative solution to supply their community with much needed protective equipment.

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

April 15, 2020

By: Caitlyn Gudmundsen

Today’s Front Line Hero is Lutheran Social Services of Nevada (LSSN), for expanding their digital food pantry services during the COVID-19 pandemic. LSSN has operated a food pantry for more than ten years, serving members of their community who are food insecure.

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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.