Written by Sijia Tong, LVC Volunteer, 2020-21
LVC Placement partner, Grace Lutheran Church, is a small inner-city congregation in Omaha, NE, situated in the middle of a block on a no-through street. This means that ministry has to be connected to the neighborhood. So Grace Lutheran Church identified community needs, and got to work.
The church decided to take a risk and become the site of a fresh food pantry two years ago. The pantry meets on Monday morning and offers fresh food received from two grocery stores each week. In addition, the church has also grown to be the gathering place of multiple faith communities. This is a Lutheran congregation whose history goes back to 1888, with a 25-year history of welcoming the Mabaan Sundanese community; and more than 6 years welcoming a Spanish Pentecostal ministry.
One of Grace Lutheran’s ministries is ESL language and fellowship with neighborhood Spanish speaking women wishing to improve their use of the English language. Five years ago, the congregation began a relationship with a nearby Omaha Public Elementary School, purchasing school books for second and third graders. The books are chosen by the teachers and then read by volunteers to the class. Each child leaves the reading with a copy of their own.
Grace Lutheran Church has embraced its calling to serve the neighborhood around them. LVC is proud to call them a partner and Placement serving Volunteers for years to come.