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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Ambassadors are short-term volunteers who open doors for our organization in the community, introducing new people at our bi-monthly Fostering Community Care event. These are one hour awareness events only (no solicitations are made) to expose people to the great work of LSS Community Care. To become an Ambassador here are your responsibilities:
  1. 1 – Attend at least one Fostering Community Care event during the calendar year
  2. 2 – Host or invite and bring 10-15 guests to one Fostering Community Care event within 3 months of your attending one yourself.
  3. 3 – Inform your invited guests of what the Fostering Community Care meeting will be about, and let them know that they will receive a follow up call from the organization
  4. 4 – Ambassadors will complete their commitment after bringing 10-15 persons within the 3 month time period. An Ambassador has the option to complete after one term, continue for another 3 month term or move into another role on the team.
Become an Ally

Allies are community members who want to be in a supportive, intentional, befriending relationship with an individual or family working to get out of poverty.

Other ways to help the Southern California Family Support Initiative
  • Be an Ad-Hoc Ally – share your special skill or talent
  • Be a member of your local Community Leadership Team
  • Assist with weekly Child Care/Children’s Programs
  • Be a Community Spokesman – talk about the initiative and recruit others to join
  • Financially Sponsor a Family Leader
  • Facilitate/assist with Training Our Leaders and Allies
  • Behind-the-scenes work – internet research, graphic design, writing
We are actively seeking individuals and groups to be a part of our on-going mission to serve those in need. LSS administers over 50 specialized programs and services throughout the Southern California region. Contact your nearest LSS Center to hear about the local opportunities they have available.
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