The Least of These

Join us for an ongoing video series dedicated to ministry to the least of these.  New additions will be added weekly.

Please consider offering a gift to support these and other ministries of the Southeastern District that serve the least of these by visiting our giving page.  From there, select the “Least of These” from the list of funds. 

Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.

Special Needs Ministry – Outreach and Inclusion

Ms. Carolyn Hassan, DCE Randy Ronning, and Deaconess Sally J. Hiller


  • Trinity’s program was started in the late 1970s by parents of special needs children in the congregation to provide a safe place for their children to learn about Jesus.
  • The children are now grown; what started as a children’s program evolved into a program for teens and now adults.
  • The congregation re-visioned the program to meet the needs of a current generation of children and families.
  • In addition to the current programming, Trinity began to offer Buddy Break one weekend a month.  Buddy Break offers parents and caregivers a break from providing full-time care to a special needs child (the divorce rate for couples with a special needs child is extremely high due to the time involved with ongoing care).
  • The participants in Trinity’s program are fully involved in the life of the congregation, from ushering, singing in the choir, etc.

Embrace Grace – Unplanned Pregnancy Support

Mrs. Christine Wethman and Deaconess Sally J. Hiller


  • Embrace Grace is a 12-week curriculum-based program for single women facing an unplanned pregnancy.  Topics include trust, faith, relief, joy, among others.
  • The larger church supports the program by offering snacks for meetings, hosting a baby shower with gifts for program participants, providing a safe and comfortable meeting place, and simply showering the attendees with God’s unconditional love.
  • The program started with 4 leaders and is now run by 6.
  • Future plans include partnering with local organizations and service providers to offer classes in nutrition and cooking, budgeting, childcare and nurturing.
  • One additional plan is to invite program graduates to come together to form a support network.

Lutherans for Life

Rev. Dr. Mark Steiner and Deaconess Sally J. Hiller


  • Lutherans for Life (LFL) focuses on all life issues, from the “womb to the tomb.”
  • LFL offers resources and provides information to both members and non-members, to help assist in making an informed decision regarding life issues.
  • LFL hosts a monthly web conference, available on their website
  • There are currently three LFL chapters in the Southeastern District.

Mobile Food Ministry

Rev. Wayne Puls and Deaconess Sally J. Hiller


  • Prior work in disaster response revealed the need for a mobile food kitchen.
  • In a disaster area, food shortages abound.  Not only are individuals and families directly affected, but it creates an added challenge for onsite crews and volunteers assisting in cleanup and restoration work.
  • Hope hosted and participated in several events, including providing a meal for refugees from Afghanistan, in order to test out equipment and recipes.
  • Hope’s goal is to have their trailer/resources available to other trained congregations.
  • Meals are being planned and developed so they can be easily replicated in various locations, typically one-pot style dishes.
  • The starting goal is to have enough capacity to provide 500 meals at a time.
  • Meals together lead to conversation…including sharing the message of the Gospel!

Lutheran Mission Society

Rev. Dr. David Maack and Deaconess Sally J. Hiller


  • Lutheran Mission Society (LMS) began operating in 1905, initially to welcome immigrants to the Baltimore area with a faith-based support network and to help them secure housing.
  • LMS also worked to plant new churches in the area, many of which are still serving the community today.
  • Around 1920, the mission changed and began to provide chaplains to area churches, hospitals, psychiatric wards, orphanages, and prisons.
  • In 1965, the mission changed again and began the compassion ministry that continues through today.


  • At present, LMS Compassion Place Ministries operates 8 centers (7 in Maryland, 1 in Pennsylvania) that offer food, clothing, household goods, worship services, and Bible studies.  Additionally, LMS has a mobile compassion center that travels through different communities in southern Maryland.
  • Compassion centers reach those who need the love of Christ but may be uncomfortable visiting a church for assistance.
  • A Compassion center will see an average of 500 visitors per day; the downtown Baltimore location provides food for 1,000 families every week.
  • The work of Compassion centers depends heavily on volunteers; a network of 1400 volunteers will contribute 16,000 hours of work in a year.
  • The need is great; there are many thousands of homeless individuals and families in the Southeastern District, and many more who are affected by food insecurity.  Government assistance alone is not enough.
  • LMS receives no government funding, relying solely on donations from churches, businesses, and individuals.

Feeding the Neighborhood

Ms. Becky Wade and Deaconess Sally Hiller


  • For the past 10 years, Redeemer has been intently focused on engaging the neighborhood.
  • As part of their early neighborhood work, Redeemer distributed bags of food to an average of 9-10 families in need.
  • During COVID, they adjusted to meet neighbor needs by expanding the food distribution and developing a partnership with an area food bank called Feed More.
  • The food distribution became a drive-through operation and began to hand out 100-150 bags of food per week.
  • Redeemer further developed a partnership with a local Middle School; a volunteer takes 25 bags of food to drop off at homes for families in need.


  • Partnerships with neighborhood HOAs, PTAs, and area schools led to a greater understanding of unmet community needs.
  • Redeemer provides brunch for the teachers and staff of 4 area schools; conversations lead to additional opportunities for community engagement.
  • Every 3rd Friday of the month, Redeemer provides a continental breakfast for school families for friendly conversation.

Kairos: Prison Ministry

Rev. Tim Fangmeier and Deaconess Sally Hiller


  • Matthew 25:36 – “…I was in prison and you visited me.”
  • Currently, there are over 2.2 million people in U.S. prisons…a 500% increase over the past 30 years.  Prisons are places of little hope, except for what Christ alone can offer.


  • Many who are incarcerated lacked supportive family or parental figures in their lives.
  • There is power in presence…being present with a spirit of respect to listen, listen, and to love, love.  Pastor David Augsburger stated that, “Being listened to is so close to being loved that the average person cannot tell the difference.”  God uses brokenness in powerful ways, and there is plenty of brokenness in prisons.
  • The power of forgiveness can absolutely turn lives around…no matter who they are!

Ministry with and to the Aging

Mrs. Alice Hedt and Deaconess Sally Hiller


  • Explain dimensions of aging and the need to assess each level: the “Goes,” the “Slow Goes,” the “No Goes.”
  • The need for the faith community to be very intentional about offering opportunities for older adults to be involved in ministry AND opportunities to receive spiritual and emotional support.
    • examples: Sundays at Six at Ascension, phone support to nursing home resident, Senior Sundays


  • Older people are an amazing resource to our faith communities.
  • Older people are our neighbors, an often untapped community for outreach. Example:
    • There are 5,300 nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the Southeastern District, with over 266,000 residents!
    • 40% have no regular visits from family or friends.
  • Older persons are often engaged with their families, witnessing to their faith, especially to grandchildren and great grandchildren.
  • Some elders are suffering enormously from the increased isolation of COVID-19 (no in-person interaction with family or friends for 2 years).