From the Interim Executive,

Like many of your churches and presbyteries, the Synod of the Covenant has joined the denomination’s Matthew 25 initiative. Along with so many others, our ministries seek to build congregational vitality, dismantle structural racism, and eradicate systemic poverty.

Earlier this month, the Synod solidified a relationship that can help our churches in Michigan to work on issues of poverty. We updated, expanded, and confirmed our covenant with Samaritas, the former Lutheran Social Services of Michigan. The covenant outlines the commitments we are making to each other. You can see in the picture Beth Birkholz, Director of Church Relations, Sam Beals, Chief Executive Officer, and me, at the signing ceremony.

I’m excited about this partnership because it provides a one-stop shop for churches all over Michigan who are looking to address poverty. Samaritas’ range of ministries stretches from refugee ministries to adoption and foster families, from affordable living to substance abuse and behavioral health.

Currently their ministry includes a focus on the unaccompanied minors from the southern border of the United States, 150 of whom will soon be resettled by Samaritas within Michigan. Click here to watch a short video detailing this ministry. While we may not all agree on the best political way to solve the crisis on that border, surely we can agree to follow James 1:27: “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress.”

I’m grateful that so many of you work to alleviate poverty. Thank you for inspiring me! You can learn more about the Matthew 25 initiative here.

Your partner in ministry,

Rev. Charles B Hardwick, PhD
Interim Executive