The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


A mode of mercy

Corinne Gott has cared for a half-million of Virginia's poorest, most troubled people

Gott, a social worker for 20 years and then superintendent of the Roanoke Social Services Department for almost 30, sees a clear connection between her worship at Christ Lutheran Church, Roanoke, and the welfare of clients who seek help from her department. They need compassion, too often a missing commodity, she says.

To develop skills and get out of poverty, most people need about five years for training and settling into a new job, Gott says, a situation current reforms don't adequately address. Also, poor children aren't getting the education or training needed to compete for jobs as adults, she says.

A few voices have protested welfare reform, but "most politicians have got to have a crisis before you get their attention," Gott says. That directness is one reason some call her stubborn or say she goes too far.

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February issue


Embracing diversity