As I come to the end of my first year working for Lutheran Services in America I continue to discover new and wonderful ways that LSA members are making a difference in the communities they serve. The uniqueness of each organization combined with a shared Lutheran heritage makes the LSA network both diverse and united in a common mission. I discovered the same dynamic holds true for the more than 100 organizations that belong to Lutheran Outdoor Ministries (LOM) when I attended their annual conference in early November. Lutheran Outdoor Ministries is a professional organization for camp and retreat center leaders. Camps and retreat centers encourage spiritual growth for the whole person through intentional Christian community.
My father was a refugee. I don't think about that often, but I was jolted back to this realization when I attended the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee (LIRS) "Walk of Courage" event. Each year, this event honors people fleeing persecution for a better life, and the people who prayerfully and humbly work in communities around the United States to help them realize that better life.
What makes the LSA network so unique? In the words of LSA President and CEO Charlotte Haberaecker, "we grow and we do." It is in the "doing together" that our network of Lutheran social ministry organizations achieves true impact. It is in the doing that we combine our collective strength to achieve better outcomes for the people we serve.
Being part of this broader faith community called Lutheran means that our work in social ministry has longstanding connections with the Church. LSA is aligned with two national Lutheran Church bodies, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS). This affiliation takes shape through our bylaws, our Board of Directors and our members, who are affiliated with or recognized by one or both Church bodies. Our members are very closely connected with their Synods, Districts and congregations in their communities.
The hum of the lively conversation and the energy of mission and purpose could be felt throughout the LSA member reception at the LeadingAge conference. Over 100 people from over 26 member organizations in our network joined their peers at the reception we hosted Nov. 1 in Boston for our LSA family. We enjoyed lively conversations, connections and networking.