At our last Partner Council meeting of 2022 on Nov. 29, we the Council officially approved the merger of Southeast Ministry (SEM) with Samaritan Ministry. This means several things: First and foremost, it means that SEM students are now Samaritan Ministry participants! Second, it means that the work of SEM is now our work at SMGW. Third, it means that three former SEM Board members are now new SMGW Board members, namely Emily Sollie, Suzanne Hazard, and Karl Moeller. Fourth, it also means that former SEM employees Denise Johnson (Administrative Assistant) and Demetria Savoy (Adult Basic Education Coordinator), are now SMGW employees. Fifth, it means that the Lutheran Church of the Reformation (LCOR) is now officially the latest addition to the SMGW Partner Council (and second Lutheran congregation); And, if that isn’t enough, it means that SMGW is also now officially an approved social ministry organization in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), a reflection of the “full communion” relationship that exists between Lutherans and Episcopalians that goes back to the approval of the Concordat between our denominations in 2001 . . . so that’s a lot to unpack!
Over the coming months we will unpack it with you, as we reinforce the good work that SEM has been doing to empower illiterate adults, which is the heart of SEM’s Adult Basic Education (ABE) work, largely in SE Washington.
So it is that SEM provides GED and adult basic education to DC adult residents who typically have limited literacy. As a part of the Next Step program and STRIVE training, SEM’s work is a complementary addition that can take our participants to the next level with educational goals, employment preparation, and mentoring. The merger with Samaritan Ministry ensures that every participant is supported with extra resources and care from our caseworkers.
Last but not least, a final implication of the merger is we now have a new site in the Congress Heights neighborhood of SE DC. The building that SEM owned on Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue has now become, by operation of law through the merger, Samaritan’s newest site, namely SE DC – Congress Heights! We are very excited about this new addition as well, as we seek to serve more participants in the region, particularly in such hard-to-serve areas that some have described as “Ground Zero” when it comes to poverty and its persistence.
Here’s to the rest of the road!