Diaconal Ministers are consecrated for service in ministries at the intersection of church and world. Diaconal Ministers work to seek wholeness in the world and to help the people of God to live out the Gospel. They are committed to alerting the church to the needs of the world. Diaconal Ministry is a ministry of Word and Service, sharing the hope of Christ, helping where there is need, and equipping others for healing and justice in the world. Diaconal Ministers serve in and through agencies, institutions (both church related and secular), as well as traditional church programs in congregations, synods or the churchwide organization as they build bridges between the church and the world.
The Diaconal Minister at St. Paul is Dr. Holly Hoffman, who came to Carlisle in 1985 and still works full-time as a pediatrician. She completed her Masters Degree in Ministerial Studies at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg in 2009 and was consecrated as St. Paul’s Diaconal Minister on Sept. 19, 2010. In addition to helping with youth service activities and running a Spiritual Support Group at St. Paul, she is involved in other regional mission and outreach.
Prenatal Clinic in Harrisburg, PA
Christ Lutheran Health Ministries Prenatal Clinic in Harrisburg has been in operation for 12 years and provides low-risk prenatal care to women who are uninsured and uninsurable due to visa status or lack of documentation. Dr. Hoffman is the Medical Director for Christ Lutheran Health Ministries (which also houses a dental clinic) and is primary prenatal care provider, aided by volunteer interpreters/nurses as well as nurses from the Holy Spirit Mission and Outreach clinic (which is also located at Christ Lutheran). Dr. Hoffman established this clinic as part of an Independent Study while in seminary; 169 babies have been delivered at Holy Spirit Hospital from the clinic, and over 206 women have received care there, with over 120 patient visits per year. Learn more about all the health ministries offered at Christ Lutheran.
WE CARE Team/ RESURRECT
Dr. Hoffman coordinates the activities of the WE CARE Team at St. Paul, and is supported by an enthusiastic and hard-working group of St. Paul )and a few ecumenical) members. The WE CARE Team’s mission is to support immigrants through educational outreach, direct assistance, and by partnering with other stakeholders.
The WE CARE Team came into being spontaneously after worship on June 24, 2018 in response to the images of family separation at our southern border that we had watched in horror on the news during the preceding week. The Holy Spirit called together a passionate team that has engaged with immigration issues ever since.
The Team has a focus on aiding immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers through a multi-pronged approach: raising awareness, direct help with asylum and refugee cases, advocacy and assistance with immigrant needs. Our strongest emphases are on educating the congregation and local community and on providing USCIS (United States Customs and Immigration Services) case assistance. We also approach our work through legislative advocacy.
WE CARE also maintains the St. Paul Giving Tree in the church courtyard with free seasonal items that can be taken by those in need from the neighborhood.
In September 2020 a subcommittee of WE CARE formed; RESURRECT. RESURRECT sprung up in response to homelessness that we observed in our own church courtyard; its purpose is to obtain grant funding and volunteers to do badly needed repairs to 217-227 W. Louther, which collectively form St. Pauls’ Apartment Ministry. These units are rented well below typical area rents to low/moderate income persons and is highly inclusive of immigrants, disabled persons and elderly. Dr. Hoffman co-leads this group alongside Barb Woods, Apartment Ministry Chair. RESURRECT has been able to partner with numerous local agencies such as Habitat for Humanity, GiveNKind, United Way, Dickinson College, and several churches and businesses for volunteer labor and other resources.
Emmitsburg (Maryland) Council of Churches Kenya Mission
Dr. Hoffman works with a former intern from St. Paul, Rev. Jon Greenstone, to co-lead the Emmitsburg (Maryland) Council of Churches Kenya Mission. In the fall of 2007, Joshua Machinga, from the Kiminini/Kitale area of western Kenya, came to visit Emmitsburg. Joshua gave an introduction to his work in teaching sustainable farming and in providing a good education for vulnerable children and orphans in the region. Joshua’s school is called Pathfinder Academy and his NGO in Kenya is known as Common Ground for Africa (CGA). He invited the Council to send volunteers on a mission trip, and “Team Kenya” was born. Trips have been held in 2009, 2011, and 2014, 2018. Volunteers have provided funds resulting in a solar well pump and solar electricity system for the school, run medical clinics, done eye exams and provided glasses for the children, and shared the Word with schoolchildren, as well as many other activities according to volunteer gifts and the leading of the Spirit.