Adventist Review Online | US Adventist University Shares Poverty Attack Plan at National Event

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La Sierra social workers and pastor suggest how to partner to fight destitution.

Two La Sierra University social work faculty members and a university church pastor gave a presentation at a national conference recently on ways churches and social workers can join forces to better meet the needs of impoverished populations.

Associate Professor of Social Work Daphne Thomas, Assistant Professor of Social Work Marni Straine, and university alum Steve Hemenway, a La Sierra University Church pastor, led a workshop titled “Bridging Gaps: Social Workers Provide Solutions in Faith-based Arenas” for the National Association of Christian Social Workers convention. The event took place November 2–5 in Charlotte, North Carolina, United States.

The trio from the Riverside, California-based school spoke on ways churches and other faith-based organizations can work with social workers and social work student interns in better helping the poor connect with appropriate agencies. They also explored new models of partnerships between congregations and local and governmental agencies.

  • Daphne Thomas, associate professor of social work at La Sierra University, one of the presenters at the national convention. [Photo: Natan Vigna, La Sierra University News]
  • La Sierra University assistant professor of social work Marni Straine, who took part in the project to tackle poverty [Photo: Natan Vigna, La Sierra University News]
  • Steven Hemenway, a pastor at La Sierra University Church and a La Sierra University alum. Hemenway is partnering with LSU Social Work to find ways of fighting poverty. [Photo: Natan Vigna, La Sierra University News]

“Not only can it be difficult navigating the wide array of services provided by city and county organizations, many clergy and faith-based leaders may lack the time, skills, or training to adequately provide helpful and long-term solutions,” they said in their convention proposal. “This presentation will look at how local congregations can utilize social work professionals to assist, educate, and better serve those in need throughout the community.”

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