ELCA and LSS – Working Together When Disaster Strikes

LDR-LSS Bishops FinalSouthern California, well-known for receiving its fair share of natural and man-made disasters, will get added assistance in its humanitarian work thanks to a new collaborative effort between LSS Community Care (aka Lutheran Social Services of Southern California) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) through its Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR) division.

Recently, officials of both organizations gathered for a summit meeting in Pasadena, CA, to work through terms and conditions of a new working relationship that will marshal expertise and shared compassion in times of crisis. The affiliation process produced an agreement that received full support from all representatives, resulting in a signed Memorandum of Understanding.

Specific terms of the agreement recognize the important strengths LSS Community Care will play during times of disaster and extended periods of recovery. Given LSS Community Care’s historic commitment to longer term project involvement, the agency will be well positioned to engage its professional team to survey, assess and orchestrate targeted efforts that include disaster case management, and emotional and spiritual care.

A number of years ago, ELCA and LSS Community Care collaborated during times of disaster response in humanitarian service. For a season, the relationship went through a time of separation, but is today fully “re-affiliated” as a result of this recent agreement. By formally sanctioning the partnership, Josselyn Bennett, Director of ELCA’s Poverty and Justice division, believes this will pave the way “for significantly expanding a network to serve more people.”

The Reverend, Michael Stadie, Program Director for Lutheran Disaster Response, commented on the urgency of engaging agencies, like LSS Community Care, in the critical time that immediately follows a disaster. “We are really pleased by the re-affiliation, the strength it brings to our network, and the opportunity we’ll have to work more efficiently and effectively on behalf of those we serve.”

Pacifica Synod Bishop, Murray Finck, emphasized, “This is long-awaited, and it will certainly serve us better in the days to come. It will be very helpful for us to be working with LSS Community Care in Southern California because of their proximity to likely disasters.”

LSS Community Care, established in 1946, is a 501 (c3) nonprofit social service agency that serves tens of thousands of individuals and families through programs/services at over 20 locations throughout Southern California.

(Photo Above: New collaboration brings church and agency together when disasters strike Southern California.  Signers of the Memorandum of Understanding between LSS Community Care and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) Disaster Response division include (L-R) Lindsy Hubby, President/CEO, LSS Community Care; LSS Community Care Disaster Relief Director, Fiona Kilner; Josselyn Bennett, Director, Poverty and Justice Ministries; Bishop Murray Finck, Pacifica Synod; Bishop Guy Erwin, Southwest California Synod, and The Rev. Michael Stadie, Program Director, Lutheran Disaster Response.)

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