Though I've only been at Lutheran Services in America for four months, I've discovered that visiting our members is its own reward: each meeting reminds me that each social ministry organization is unique by dint of its unique history and rich heritage, and that each is an inspiration.
Recently, Lutheran Services in America Disability Network (LSA-DN) had the privilege of hosting 30 self-advocates, family members, direct support staff and program staff from Bethesda Lutheran Communities, Filling Homes, KenCrest, Lutheran Family Services of Virginia, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota and Mosaic for our second "Speak Up! Self-Advocate Training" in Washington, DC.
Wheat Ridge Ministries, a member of the LSA network, is committed to engaging young adults as the next generation of effective Christian leaders. Through their Burst Grant program, Wheat Ridge supports the creative sparks of young adults called to serve by funding innovative social service start-ups around the country. These programs address needs and critical gaps in communities in a wide variety of ways, from after-school programming to community gardens, services for seniors to resources for immigrants and refugees.
In the last week I have participated in two editorial meetings, met a Congressman from Georgia, sat in on a call with the Lutheran Services in America Disability Network and learned about the database system for Lutheran Services of America. I have been welcomed into a team of dedicated individuals who truly want to make a difference in the lives of their members’ staff and clients.
The Washington, D.C. area has been preparing for the arrival next week of Pope Francis, leader of the global Roman Catholic Church. During this historic visit, the Pope will be welcomed by the President at the White House, will hold a special mass at Catholic University and will address a joint meeting of Congress, in addition to visiting local congregations and volunteers and a stop at an organization affiliated with Catholic Charities USA that feeds the poor and homeless in the city.