With this year’s assembly theme focusing on racial justice and the God-given gift of diversity, I am delighted to -report that the Clinical Pastoral Education program of Lutheran Services New York Alliance celebrates a diverse expression in its student body. One of the first experiences I have had as the new Executive Director of Lutheran Services New York Alliance was to attend the graduation of our CPE program last August, and was delighted to see the diversity of our students. Lutheran Services New York Alliance is celebrated its efforts to train persons interested in providing spiritual care.-
Furthermore, we celebrate the work of our CPE Director, Pastor Silvia Misina, who leads with heart, soul and mind. We are deeply thankful to God for the work Pastor Misina is doing with our student body and through the diversity of our LSNYA member agencies. In addition to the Atlantic District, LCMS, and the Metropolitan NY Synod, ELCA, eight agencies are members of the Alliance: Eger Lutheran Homes and Services, Lutheran Counseling Center, NYU Lutheran, Lutheran Social Services of NY, Seafarers International House, The Healing Center, The Lutheran Care Network, and Wartburg Adult Care Community.
We are especially grateful to the Metropolitan NY Synod for a grant that enables the Alliance to conduct the “Spiritual Care-Shared Endeavor,” under the direction of The Rev. Dr. Serge Castigliano, who has been contracted by the Alliance to research this important aspect of ministry in our judicatories and agencies. You are invited to review the results and recommendations of the study at a breakfast to be held at the Wartburg, in Mt. Vernon, on September 27, 2016.
Further news in the Alliance was welcoming The Rev. John W. Havrilla, as Executive Director, beginning in August. The Alliance is committed to working together to fulfill the church’s servant mission and continues to experience growth in its support for our member agencies. This year we welcomed The Lutheran Care Network, renewing its Alliance membership. We also successfully completed the extensive national accreditation process for our Clinical Pastoral Education program. A new program was also initiated with a combined year-long internship and CPE program at the Wartburg, under the direction of Pastor Carol Fryer. A new video production will be featured on the website in late spring, featuring the gift of extending and receiving spiritual care. The Alliance will also focus on the work of development in order that we can effectively serve and fulfill our mission among and through our member agencies and judicatories. We invite you to visit our new website, which provides additional information about the work of the Alliance: www.LSNYA.org and our CPE program. You can also visit us on Facebook.
Change has been the “mantra” in the Alliance this year as we helped welcome, at a Service of Installation, The Rev. Derek G. Lecakes, Bishop/President of the Atlantic District. Our deep appreciation is extended to The Rev. Dr. David Benke who represented the District on our Board and who now represents Lutheran Social Services of New York as President and CEO, succeeding Mr. Ron Drews. We also gave thanks to God, at a recognition dinner, for Ron’s work as our Board President and in leading LSSNY over an 11-year period. Ron now serves in southern California, continuing his work in Lutheran social ministry. In addition to sharing Godspeed with Ron, we held a farewell luncheon for the Chairperson of our CPE Advisory Committee, Christine O’Connell, who has accepted a CEO position in Lutheran social ministry in our nation’s capital. We are pleased to have Mr. John Ray Gonzalez as a member of the CPE Advisory Committee. Lutheran Medical Center, now serving as NYU Lutheran, has also experienced change as it has become part of the NYU Langone System in greater New York. Through all these changes, we always have a song to sing and recall, in faith, the psalmist’s invitation to discover, “How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?”
In closing, we are delighted to sing the Lord’s song through all the changes and challenges in the public sector and particularly in celebrating the 25th anniversary of Lutheran Counseling Center. This year, we look to celebrate with Eger Lutheran Homes and Services, their 100th anniversary in September, and with The Wartburg Adult Care Community, their 150th anniversary in October.
The Rev. John W. Havrilla, Executive Director
Lutheran Services New York Alliance