Gloria Dei’s Social Ministry Team is committed to promoting service to humanity through acts of love and justice and to increasing a greater awareness within the Gloria Dei community to the emotional and physical needs of society. Gloria Dei has a long history of support for both local and worldwide outreach programs.
“. . . and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
"I was hungry and you gave me something to eat” Matt.25:35
“Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Heb. 13:1-2
Social Ministry Team - 2016 Annual Report
Thank you to Gloria Dei members and friends who faithfully support our Social Ministry Team as we identify the needs of those less fortunate throughout the community, our sisters and brothers in Christ, and work toward solutions. The generous hearts of this congregation’s people are amazing, and working together we are able to make a real difference in the lives of others.
We continued our special projects in support of various community agencies in February 2016 with our annual “Socks and Valentines” for the clients of the Brother Francis Shelter. We donated new socks; and Sunday School students made valentine cards and helped adults decorate sugar cookies—an inter-generational event which greatly benefited all.
In March, the Women’s Book Study group assembled Easter baskets—each containing the Easter story and seasonal treats—which were given to children through Lutheran Social Services of Alaska (LSSA). And in May, Gloria Dei walkers participated with other LSSA Grazers in the annual Charity Walk. While supporting local charities, the walk through downtown Anchorage gave folks an opportunity to enjoy the fresh, springtime air and ever-increasing daylight as well as to sample foods from various eateries in Anchorage.
In August we collected school supplies in support of the HUGSS (Helping Us Give School Supplies) and Coats program, co-sponsored by LSSA and partner social-service agencies—an effort to give all children an equal start to the school year.
In October the Piecemakers shipped 43 quilts, 10 fleece-tied blankets, and 16 sewing kits to third-world countries through Lutheran World Relief. By barcoding the labels on our boxes, we were able to track the destinations of our gifts: quilts and blankets were distributed in India and Georgia; kits to Angola. Fabric for quilts are routinely donated to us; an “action grant” awarded through Thrivent Financial funded the fleece; and members and friends met weekly throughout the summer to tie the quilts and blankets. Thanks to all of you for your hands-on work, financial donations to the LWR ministry through our loose-change offering and to Lynden Air for transport to Seattle.
With gifts of children’s quilts and pillowcases, the Piecemakers began to actively support the Salvation Army McKinnel Shelter, the only shelter in Anchorage that accommodates 2-parent families and single men with children. In November we hosted Sunday Undie Sundaes, collecting 1,140 pairs of new underwear and stockings for kids who often arrive at the shelter with only the clothes they are wearing; as a bonus, everyone enjoyed ice-cream sundaes in the fireside room. These gifts were received with such enthusiasm that we look forward to making it an annual event. Thrivent also blessed this mission through an “action grant,” and McKinnel Shelter was the recipient of our loose change offering in May.
Also in November Gloria Dei provided cans of cranberry sauce, corn, and green beans as well as packages of turkey stuffing and gravy for Thanksgiving Blessing—a community-wide outreach that distributes food for holiday meals. In mid-December we helped with Neighborhood Gift—which also gives families a holiday meal as well as an opportunity to select gifts for their children. Many Gloria Dei people were visible working at the distribution sites for both projects.
During the Advent season, the Piecemakers made 200 Christmas stockings for LSSA to distribute to parents of young children who access the food distribution site. In December, the Wooly Tree provided items of greatest need for homeless kids receiving services through the “Child in Transition/Homeless Project,” a program of the Anchorage School District. The annual Women’s Advent Brunch collected diapers and wipes for LSSA which Gloria Dei supported. Again, we thank you for your generosity.
The Piecemakers continue to support a small-group ministry—knitting or crocheting “prayer shawls.” We have been able to offer shawls to a number of our folks and have more available for anyone in need of God’s love, peace, and comfort. We welcome those of you handy with knitting and crocheting needles.
We are grateful to those of you who so generously and faithfully support our ongoing projects: a homemade dinner for 50 delivered to Clare House each 3rd Thursday. Sign-up sheets for food are posted on the Social Ministry bulletin board for anyone who wishes to participate (and we can always use extra hands). Our LSSA Food of the Month continues to bring food to the LSSA food pantry—where the shelves are never too full. Finally, we continue to support FISH (Fellowship In Serving Humanity) through our loose-change offerings and other monetary donations. FISH is a community-wide emergency food distribution site working from St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. We discontinued providing monthly Brother Francis Shelter sandwiches; however, this is still a viable activity for small groups to periodically meet to make sandwiches which the shelter always appreciates.
Each year the “Hunger Print,” designed by artist Marianne Wieland, benefits local and world hunger relief projects. This year in addition to her annual print, she created a 46-page, hard-cover book to showcase each of the 38 annual prints produced between 1979 and 2016. Outreach to several other Lutheran congregations in the Anchorage and Mat-Su areas was also accomplished with this year’s print, the book, and previous years’ prints. Donations are distributed to ELCA World Hunger, Beans Café, FISH, and the LSSA Food Pantry. Marianne’s dedication continues to demonstrate that “one person can make a difference.”
If you would like information about any of our special or ongoing projects, you may contact Betty Anderson, Marcia DeVoe, Adrienne King, Marjorie Paulson, or Darla Siver. We always appreciate your ideas and welcome your help and participation. The outpouring of compassion and resources from our Gloria Dei community is a witness to our Christian faith throughout the greater community.
Respectfully submitted by the Social Ministry Team