The year 2017 marks 500 years since Martin Luther famously nailed his “95 Theses” to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. Although he did not intend to start a movement, his action is recognized as the start of the protestant Reformation. Over the past 50 years, Catholics and Lutherans have been working to overcome centuries of division.
To recognize the progress made and to look toward a collaborative future, a Commemoration was held on Oct. 9 at St. Therese Little Flower Church in Reno. Rev. Jorge Herrera and Rev. Michael Patterson presided and the sermon was delivered jointly by the Most Reverend Bishop Randolph R. Calvo and Rev. Kathryn Gulbranson while other clergy of both denominations, and a combined choir from local parishes also attended.
In 2013 Catholics and Lutherans issued a joint statement titled, “From Conflict to Communion,” which recognized that the beliefs that unite are far greater than the differences. Included in the joint statement are five “Imperatives,” or goals, for which each member of both denominations should strive. One is “Catholics and Lutherans should witness together to witness to the mercy of God in proclamation and service to the world.” Both denominations recognize that service to the world includes caring for those in need in our own community. Offerings received at this joint commemoration will be divided between Catholic Charities and Faith Lutheran Food Pantry, for the benefit of hungry people in this area.
Lutheran Engagement and Advocacy in Nevada exists to bring to public attention the needs of disadvantaged people. LEAN advocates at the Nevada Legislature to reduce barriers that keep people in poverty. However LEAN also works in the community, and to that end, will donate $1,000 to the offering for the commemoration, to benefit Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada. LEAN will also donate $1,000 to Lutheran Social Services of Nevada, to reflect LEAN’s commitment to address hunger and poverty in southern Nevada, the most populous part of our state.
Lutheran Social Services began serving the Southern Nevada community in 1985 with a simple clothes closet and food pantry. The agency has since become a leader in providing healthy, nutritious food in innovative ways. It is led by Executive Director Armena Mnatsakanyan.
In 2012, LSSN pioneered the Open Air Market to provide fresh produce and other nutritious food to those living in “food deserts.” In 2014, LSSN launched a Senior Meal Program. In 2016, LSSN received the Agency of the Year award from Three Square, the umbrella food bank in Southern Nevada. The agency was recognized for starting DigiMart, the first online digital food pantry in the west. LSSN has been recognized by the Governor and Lt. Governor of Nevada for outstanding community service.