The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


The Lutheran brand of caring

New York network claims Christ-centered heritage

"We're Lutheran and we give care. It's who we are," said Keith Henchey, an administrator with Wartburg Lutheran Services, a 135-year-old organization based in New York. It's why the Wartburg recently changed its name to The Lutheran Care Network, he said.

While the old name "has a strong tradition in the Lutheran church, it left a lot open to interpretation [for the larger community], narrowing down what one might expect of us," Henchey said. "The Lutheran Care Network epitomizes what we do as an organization."

Begun in Brooklyn, N.Y., to serve widows and orphans, The Lutheran Care Network today spans the state. From Long Island to the Albany-Saratoga area, its 11 sites offer independent living facilities, low-income housing, assisted living and skilled nursing.

Michael Duffy/The Lutheran Care Center<BR><BR>Retired
Retired ELCA pastor John R. Heller greets Edith Dickson (left) and Florence Williams, residents of The Lutheran Care Center in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

While many such organizations provide care to seniors, "we serve a wide age spectrum with home-care assistance," said President and CEO Frank Tripodi. "Calling it a network better typifies our services."

Strongly Lutheran

While re-branding efforts of other ELCA-affiliated institutions involved dropping "Lutheran" from their names, The Lutheran Care Network never considered this, said John R. Heller, a retired ELCA pastor who serves as coordinator of pastoral care. "In re-branding, we don't deny we are Lutheran. Rather, we feel it's an opportunity to even more strongly point out to the world, to the staff and to the residents that we are a Christ-centered ministry," he said.

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