Lutherans in Minnesota

LSS names Servant of Christ Award winners

Each year, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS) honors six congregations with a Servant of Christ Award for the important contributions they have made to their communities.

“We are so grateful for our many partners in ministry,” said Richard Andersen, LSS Director of Congregational Relations. “Our congregations reach out in important, life-changing ways to extend love and care for the neighbor, which are bedrock values for us as Christians.”

The Servant of Christ Award recognizes congregations that are leaders in social service outreach or have come forward with extraordinary service to address special needs in their community. Each year, the award is typically given to one congregation in each of the six Minnesota synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

In northeastern Minnesota, Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church of Grand Rapids is recognized for showing a deep and active commitment to being a place where community can gather and thrive. Zion’s outreach ministry provides food, clothing and shelter for the greater Grand Rapids area. Their community café provide a warm meal to 60-80 people every Tuesday and Thursday. For six years, Zion has maintained Open Closet, making donated clothing available to anyone in need. For the past four years, Zion has been the home to GRACE House, Itasca County’s only homeless shelter, that provides a place for rest and support of individuals and families.

In Minneapolis, Diamond Lake Lutheran Church has a long tradition of dedication to LSS. The congregation provided significant spiritual and financial support for development of The Center for Changing Lives. Most recently, Diamond Lake Lutheran has become deeply committed to the Welcome Home project where they furnish and maintain 12 apartments in LSS’ transitional housing.

In St. Paul, Bethlehem-In-The-Midway is recognized for a strong and vibrant street outreach to the Midway community. The congregation serves a well-balanced meal to 150-250 people every Monday and provides donated clothing and household goods. Last year, they served over 11,000 meals. Twice a year, they hold a lawn party, drawing up to 700 people for fellowship and support. Their outreach for children, Kids’ Club, draws children from the neighborhood for monthly programs.

Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Austin, in the Southeastern Minnesota Synod, is being honored for looking beyond its own needs and bringing much-needed medical care to 250,000 people in the Central African Republic. Working with Lutheran Partners in Global Mission, the congregation donated $100,000 to build a sustainable medical clinic in a place that previously had no facilities at all.

Trinity Lutheran Church of Grove City, in southwestern Minnesota, has many active ministries, including Bed Net, Cystic Fibrosis, Prisoners of Hope, Relay for Life, School Supply Drive, Holiday Project, and a monthly community dinner, to name a few. Around the world, the congregation also supports the Smile Train, ELCA World Hunger and Heifer International. Through WELCA, Trinity Lutheran has also become more familiar with LSS, particularly its work with homeless youth.

In northwestern Minnesota, Calvary Lutheran Church in Perham took a leadership role recently in Perham’s Feed My Starving Children project. More than 3,000 volunteers packed 435,000 meals over two days at the Perham Community Center. Calvary Lutheran also donated $20,000 of the $70,000 raised for the project. In addition, Calvary extends the work of LSS through their involvement with LSS respite care, disaster response and financial support.

For comprehensive information about the work of LSS of Minnesota, please visit www.lssmn.org

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