We’ve selected five "lenses" for outreach in our synod: Family, Education, Health, Employment, and Immigration. Your church may choose to join the efforts of the wider church in making an impact in these key areas.
Connect to Others
The goal behind the 20/20 Vision booklet (updated in 2015) is to allow congregants in our synod to connect to and learn from the ways our synod’s congregations are already serving our neighbors. Want to start a soup kitchen? Or a school? Or an immigration center? The booklet will show you who’s already serving in this way so you can contact them and learn from their experience. We also focus on some unique ministries that will inspire and motivate you to try your own variations in your setting.
Highlighting ministries and partnerships
Seafarers and International House
When one considers that one out of every seven human beings on this planet is now a displaced migrant, it isn't too hard to imagine what Jesus would say in this situation: we care called to visit those who are in prison and welcome the stranger. You may guess that Seafarers International House (SIH) is a ministry that welcomes the stranger in the form of merchant mariners and you would be right. But you may not know that SIH also visits those in prison-especially those in prison-like detention centers. SIH is indeed an intentional outreach to vulnerable immigrants, carrying on a tradition of welcoming the immigrant stranger since it's founding in 1873 when it began as an immigrant house for arriving Lutheran Swedes. Fast-forward to 2015 and SIH both organizes visits to detention centers once a month and provides housing for recently released detention center detainees at their Union Square guesthouse. This past year over 20 immigrants found their first U.S. home at SIH as they prepare to venture out on their own. Along with a social work intern from Hunter School of Social work, SIH works hand in hand with immigration partners to provide advocacy, housing, and one-on-one visits with those who languish in detention centers. You, too, can participate in this ministry by contacting SIH's social work intern, Makda Kelib, to find out when the next visit will take place. It just takes a Saturday morning to make the world of difference to one of the many displaced migrants that are simply looking for someone to listen and for someone to bring hope.
NYU Lutheran Medical Center
Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn may have a new name, but they are continuing a long legacy of providing medical care in Jesus' name. Now called NYU Lutheran, this hospital continues to be an academic hospital dedicated to community health care and being a social support system. NYU Lutheran Medical Center, founded in 1883, is a full service 450-bed academic teaching and tertiary care hospital that serves as the hub of NYU Lutheran. It includes a Level I Trauma Center, a New York State designated Stroke Center, STEMI Center, and is a bariatric center of excellence. NYU Lutheran Family Health Centers is one of the largest and most comprehensive federally qualified health centers in the country. It has a 47-year history of providing high quality health care and social support services to the ethnically diverse and underserved communities of Brooklyn. It has been recognized as a Level 3 Patient Centered Medical Home by the National Committee for Quality Assurance; To receive this recognition, a provider must demonstrate that it has exceptional systems of care that help patients achieve the best health outcomes. To help provide the best possible care, NYU Lutheran actively utilizes approximately 50 different languages and 60% of their staff is bi-lingual. Learn about NYU Lutheran and its 132-year-old commitment to serving Brooklyn neighborhoods by visiting their website or finding them on social media.
CPE: A match made in heaven?
You may or may not know about the exciting training of future leaders in the church that happens day in and day out throughout the year in this synod. Lutheran Services New York Alliance (LSNYA) sponsors a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program which had 12 students that were trained and nurtured in active listening skills, spiritual discernment, and pastoral care for those in hospitals (NYU Lutheran), nursing homes (Eger and Wartburg), social service agencies (LSSNY), and maritime ministries at Seafarers International House (SIH). CPE director, Rev. Silvia Misina, capably leads this initiative and for the past three years has trained scores of theological students in the art of pastoral care while helping the synod's social ministry organizations. LSNYA, with its new director, the Rev. John Havrilla, seeks to be a voice for the marginalized throughout our synod by sponsoring the CPE program and other outreaches within the synod.
An example of how this is a good match is in Jonathan Westerlund, a MNYS candidate for ordained ministry and student at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. Jonathan just completed his summer internship through Seafarers International House. For 12 weeks he called on ships in the ports of New Jersey and New York with SIH port chaplains. This is a win/win for all: Area social ministry sites receive much needed additional pastoral care help while future leaders are nurtured in their ministerial gifts.
Lutheran Schools Association
Lutheran Schools Association (LSA) is a pan-Lutheran membership organization that seeks to support the ministries of Lutheran schools and early childhood centers in the Metro New York area, in its roles as facilitator, advocate, and partner. LSA offers regular, high-quality professional development in the form of conference days, regional cluster meetings of school leaders, on-site workshops, teacher resource emails, curriculum support, and most recently, its newly launched Future Leaders Academy. As a member of the Commissioner's Advisory Council and the NYC Division of Non Public Schools Standing Committee, LSA serves as an information source and a point of contact for policy clarification, and advocates for changes in the best interest of Lutheran schools. Members of LSA enjoy benefits of membership that include buying power with several businesses, and LSA continually seeks out opportunities for cost-savings and programming that allows for collaboration among schools and teachers. Learn more about LSA's ministry from their website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LSA Learnings blog.
Lutheran Counseling Center
"I am eternally grateful to Lutheran Counseling Center and my therapist. I was going through a really tough time in my life. I truly believe I was led to you for help. I will never forget your love and generosity. I am a better person in faith and life with your help."
The Lutheran Counseling Center (LCC) is a 'ministry of the church', a non-discriminatory Christian faith-based counseling service. Licensed psychotherapists counsel children and adults of all backgrounds at nine church-related sites throughout metropolitan New York. We help with everyday issues such as grief and loss, depression, anxiety, stress, trauma, couples' therapy, children and teen issues, and family therapy. LCC provides tailor-made seminars, grief and crisis interventions, consultation, and mediation services for churches and schools. Counseling payment is by sliding scale dependent upon income. Contact Molly Blancke, Executive Director, at 1-800-317-1173 for further information.
Lutheran Social Services of New York
The many LIFE services that comprise the ministry of Lutheran Social Services of New York already serve over 10,000 people each day! Still, we need to do more. Statistics show that the rate of poverty is rising along with the tremendous needs in our community. We ask you to help meet the growing need, increase the amount and quality of social service, give hope where there is none, and make a difference in the faces and lives of many New Yorkers. When faced with poverty, acquiring basic, everyday necessities can be a grueling task. Our Community Services provide local, direct, and essential services to families in need. They serve victims of disaster, children, immigrants, refugees, and others in crisis. In some cases, a chaplain is called in to assist with emotional or spiritual needs, and in others, an employment or housing specialist is readily available. Please join us with your prayers and with your gifts, to be bold agents of God’s grace and love.
Job Search Alliance
Are you or someone you know unemployed or underemployed? Does your church want to do something to help those who are yearning for the dignity of stable work? Over 75% of professional jobs are obtained through networking, which is why Jeffry Peterson began LI-SENG, an offering of the Job Search Alliance at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Huntington Station. It is ministry that the Sent Committee endorses. The purpose of the LI-SENG is to provide you with an opportunity to collaborate with others in your job search, share networking connections, and provide a clearinghouse for networking events, other networking groups, and information on job search resources. Jeffry and his colleague Kimberly Gilgeours are willing resources for our synod in helping people learn how to network and begin their own employment networking groups in their congregations. Here’s how you can get involved: find LI-SENG on LinkedIn and get involved by taking a call from a networker; post new job opportunities; post inspirational messages; or report any knowledge of layoffs in companies so that proposals can be made for outplacement services paid for by the company. It’s important to be encouraging resources for each other within our congregations as people search for jobs. The group will always be free. For more information, contact Jeffry Peterson.
At Wartburg, over 600 elderly are cared for through affordable independent living, assisted living, memory care, certified homecare, skilled nursing, rehab transitional care, and adult day services. Located in Westchester, Wartburg's beautiful campus features the full spectrum of the continuing care approach--meaning that as an individual's needs change, they can stay at Wartburg and move seamlessly to a different level of support. Wartburg has been recognized as one of New York's best nursing homes byU.S. News & World Report for the third consecutive year. As a Recognized Service Organization affiliated with the ELCA, Wartburg provides spiritual care with MNYS Pastors Carol Fryer and Dolores McKay, and others. Residents and the Wartburg community gather each Sunday for worship at United Lutheran Church on campus. Perhaps your congregation could join them some Sunday and assist with "Worship on Wheels"--helping transport residents in wheelchairs to and from the chapel so they can fully participate in worship.
The Lutheran Care Network
The Lutheran Care Network (TLCN) is a ministry of healing, hospitality and community through partnerships in caring. Its goal is to provide quality senior care in a faith-based tradition. With residences and programs located in the Capitol Region, Mid-Hudson and Metropolitan areas of New York, we provide independent, assisted, and skilled nursing care to over 1,200 individuals. The network has programs for adult day care and offer low-income senior housing. As an outreach to Lutheran congregations, TLCN offers Linking Care in Congregations, a program of education and support for trained volunteers who visit the homebound members of their congregation.
Worker’s Justice Project
In the last year, a partnership has emerged in Williamsburg Brooklyn that has brought God’s presence to the lives of those that struggle day to day. Immigrant women looking for household work in the neighborhood were targeted by teenagers that threw stones at them. Ben McKelahan, pastor at St. Paul’s, extended a hand and contacted the police for them, ensuring a police presence that provides safety. Because of this, the Worker’s Justice Project (WJP), a group that helps these women and construction workers secure fair wages and jobs, has begun a new form of ministry with the congregation at St. Paul’s. This ministry has resulted in a decrepit theater at the church being renovated by WJP, allowing the women to congregate when needed, and allowing the congregation use of a previous unoccupied space. God’s work, our hands!
Pinecrest Lutheran Leadership Ministries
Pinecrest, a 90 year old Lutheran Leadership Camp for youth, has continuously changed to remain relevant to young people in the church throughout its history. In the past, Pinecrest has led a number of people to pursue careers within the church. More recently, the campers involved with Pinecrest have been committed to performing acts of justice outside of the camp community. By reaching out to organizations within their local communities, campers have had the opportunity to participate in social justice activities from Manhattan to Eastern Long Island. This passion for social justice is fostered during Pinecrest's week-long camp session in mid-August, where campers engage in classes, discussions, and activities that focus on the theme of how to be the face of Jesus in the world by addressing issues of inequality. This past August, campers participated in a diversity training exercise that highlighted how certain populations are disadvantaged by the systems currently in place in our society. Pinecresters were moved to action in the months following by writing letters to congressional offices regarding the Syrian refugee crisis as well as leading efforts to provide meals to shut-ins throughout New York City. Campers are not only given an opportunity to hear God's call, but are also given the opportunity to respond - to be the hands that do God's work. Surely as Pinecrest continues its ministry, many more generations of young people will learn how to be leaders in the Church, their communities, and the world. Learn more about Pinecrest here.