Social Ministry

St. Paul’s is actively engaged in reaching out to its surrounding neighborhood, the city of Washington, DC, the country and the world through its social ministry efforts. We have numerous service opportunities available throughout the year and are always seeking volunteers to help us do God’s work with our hands. One example, last Lent we joined Lutheran World Relief's Baskets of Promise Campaign. We collected Personal Care items and then assembled over 100 kits to be distributed around the world to those in need. 

If you are interested in joining the social ministry planning team, volunteering for an activity, or learning more about this ministry, please contact Emily Foley, Social Ministry Chair.





Gifts of Hope

Gifts of Hope is our Synod's alternative gift giving program which enables people to give gifts that reflect the gift God gave us, God's Son Jesus Christ.  Please consider substituting a Gift of Hope for a more traditional gift on your list for friends and family, or supplementing those other gifts with a donation that will lighten the lives of others this Christmas season.

This program gives anyone the opportunity to purchase a practical gift to help our brothers and sisters in the DC area and around the world. Real challenges of homelessness and poverty continue to grow in our community, and there are needs across the globe that call for our attention. With Gifts of Hope, you will have the opportunity to choose from a group of Lutheran social ministry organizations, camps, and our synod's companion synods abroad to directly support their mission and programs.  Many children in the Washington area and throughout the world have benefited from Gifts of Hope by receiving books, camp scholarships, free lunches, and educational trips.  Social ministry organizations, Lutheran camps, and Lutheran Churches in El Salvador, Namibia and Slovakia have also benefited from Gifts of Hope. 

 Beginning Sunday, December 3, you can make a monetary contribution in honor of those on your gift list. Your contribution goes to the beneficiary organization to purchase the gifts you have selected. View all the beneficiary organizations on the back of the catalog or on the web at

Watch for the display after each service beginning December 3 and ending December 24 in St. Paul's narthex. You can review the gifts, fill out an order form, and purchase your gifts. You will receive a beautiful card and insert to use as the gift. For more information about Gifts of Hope see the web site, or contact Rebecca Highsmith at 202.309.2812 or or Drew Morrison at



Friendship Place's Neighbors First Program Needs YOU!

As we begin Advent, please consider helping Friendship Place's Neighbors First program.  Neighbors First currently serves several hundred children ranging in age from newborn to 18 years old.  All of the children in the program are living in apartments with their parent(s), and are assigned to the program due to their history of homelessness, low income status, and other challenges such as mental and physical health disabilities or addiction.  The children's families receive some benefits, but they are limited, which make the holidays difficult.  Neighbors First assists families by helping them provide small gifts for their children.

To Participate:

Starting Sunday, December 3rd, please take an ornament for each gift that you are planning to purchase, and sign your name to the copy (to allow us to track who has taken what). Children are identified by name and age only, along with a special "Wish List" item.  The gift can be wrapped, but ONLY if the package has the child's name and family number CLEARLY MARKED on the wrapping.

The deadline for returning gifts is Sunday, December 17th.  Friendship Place will pick the gifts up from the church.  Please give your gifts to Lisa Wackler for safekeeping.

If you run into any problems with the purchase of your gift(s), please let Lisa know as soon as possible at or 202-966-5489, ext. 125.

Thank you so much for sharing God's love this Advent Season!


Help the St. Paul's Men's Shelter This Christmas!

We will soon have Wish Lists for the residents of our own St. Paul's Homeless Shelter, so stay tuned for specific requests, but if anyone would like to donate Starbucks, Panera, or CVS cards to the effort, that would be much appreciated.  These cards go a long way in helping with a lunch or snack during a long day of job searching!

Also, we have a donation of Metro cards that need fares added to them.  These are helpful to have on hand when folks stop by the church looking for transportation assistance.  If you'd be interested in taking a couple of the cards and loading them with fare money, that would also be really appreciated! 

Please contact Lisa Wackler at  if you can help out in any way.



Mission Trip to Texas





Pocket Prayer Squares

The Prayer Shawl Ministry has placed baskets of Pocket Prayer Squares in the narthex and portico.  These prayer squares have been knitted with love and prayers to provide encouragement, healing, joy and peace to those in need.  If you look closely at the square you will see a cross located in the center. A Scripture card of various verses is attached to each; pick your favorite verse.  You may carry the prayer square in your pocket, purse or keep it at home as a reminder of God's love and the prayers of St. Paul's. 

Prayer Shawl Request Forms

If you are in need of prayer shawl gifts and are having difficulty making the request a basket of request forms have been placed in the narthex and portico.  Just fill out any critical portions and drop it by Cassie's office or mailbox (outside main office).  You may call the office or send a request via e-mail.  Contact Deaconess Cassie with questions.



Quilts for Lutheran World Relief

Lutheran World Relief (LWR) promotes a variety of projects for people in need.  One of their projects is to provide homemade quilts  to people who have lost everything due to disasters--natural and man made--that happen around the world.

Our own Carol Wake is making quilts for Lutheran World Relief, and has several in process that were blessed on Sunday, November 19th.  Carol is looking for donations of thread, so if you have some to spare, please let contact her HERE. 

Thank you for supporting this wonderful effort to help others!

If you have any questions about this project, please contact Carol Wake or Lisa Wackler .


Volunteers Needed to Assist Thrive DC During the Holidays

Thrive DC is a local organization that works to prevent and end homelessness in Washington, DC by providing vulnerable people with a wide range of services to help stabilize their lives.

Thrive DC is already looking ahead to the holidays, and looking for people who might be able to help out during that time.  Specifically, they are looking for people high school age and older who would be willing to come to their location one morning either the time period of 12/26-12/29 or 1/2-1/5 (7:30 am--11:30 am), and greet the clients as they arrive and take their names, help prepare and serve breakfast, coordinate the shower schedule, serve coffee, and hand out toiletries. 

If you are going to be in Washington during the holidays, please consider giving some of your time to help out others who need us.  We are looking to find a day that 4-10 people from St. Paul's might be able to do this together.  Following is a Doodle Poll that will help us determine which day is best for those who want to participate:

If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Wackler.




 Recap: Six Sundays of Summer Service 2017

The Social Ministry Committee would like to thank you for your support during the Six Summer Sundays of Service! About 50 St. Paul's volunteers supported a number of organizations around the themes of caring for the elderly, thanking veterans, welcoming refugees, feeding the hungry, supporting people experiencing homeless, and promoting early childhood education.

 In the process we made 30 bouquets of flowers, 40 cards for veterans and refugees, organized the food pantry, collected toiletries, made 40 hymnal and Bible bookmarks, and packed 45 backpacks with school supplies!

The organizations we supported include Forest Hills Inclusive Senior Living, Prime Time, A Million Thanks, Lutheran Social Services, the SPLC food pantry, and Friendship Place. If you're interested in joining the Social Ministry Committee to continue work like this, contact Emily Foley .
























St. Paul’s has a five bed men’s shelter right in the church building. It is a transitional shelter for homeless men who are moving off of the street or out of a large shelter and are in the process of rebuilding their lives in order to move into permanent housing. We provide a bed, a safe place to store belongings, shower and laundry facilities. The residents receive case management services from our ministry partners, Community Council for the Homeless at Friendship Place and Miriam’s Kitchen. Every night, the men receive a home cooked meal courtesy of our shelter meal volunteers. If you are interested in providing meals to the residents, please contact Debra Fried Levin. If you are interested in mentoring a shelter resident, please contact Kate Belinski.




St. Paul’s hosts a food pantry on the first and third Saturday of every month from 10am to noon. The pantry is fully operated by volunteers on a rotating basis. Over the course of a year, the food pantry provides over 13,000 pounds of food to more than 2,500 individuals. We partner with the DC Capital Area Food Bank to supplement the traditional pantry items with fresh produce, dairy and meats. Our dedicated volunteers stock shelves, hand out food, give recipe advice, and interact with the clients on a personal level. If you are interested in volunteering at the food pantry, please contact Megan Schroeder.


Prime Time Senior Ministry


Join us every Wednesday for Food and Fun with Prime Time Senior Ministry!   

Every week Prime Time gathers to watch an interesting program or lecture, follwed by lunch and exercise class.  There are always new friends to meet and new things to learn, so we hope you'll join us!  Transportation is available if needed,  Please contact Deaconess Cassie Brown for more information.




Gifts of Hope is an alternative gift-program of the DC Metropolitan Synod that runs during the Advent season. Instead of buying someone a boring old sweater for Christmas, Gifts of Hope offers the opportunity to buy a meaningful gift for someone else in their honor, such as: medical services for indigent DC residents, books for schools in Tanzania, or treats for a summer camp for children affected by HIV-AIDS. If you are interested in volunteering to staff the Gifts of Hope table during Advent, or would like to purchase an item, please contact Rebecca Highsmith.


Neighbors First Gift Drive

Thank you to everyone who participated in Friendship Place's Neighbors First Holiday Gift Drive.  St. Paul's contributed enough gift items for the 25 children on our list, PLUS (thanks to a couple of last-minute angels!) additional gifts of toys for children not on our list AND plenty of candy to stuff lots of stockings!



St. Paul’s mission trips and disaster relief trips provide a wonderful opportunity for church members and friends to spend time in daily service to improve the lives of others. Whether rebuilding houses along the Mississippi Gulf or volunteering at an orphanage in Zambia, these trips are truly life changing.

For more information about St. Paul's Mission Trips, please contact Pastor Tom Omholt.

Mission Trip to Lumberton, North Carolina: December 2 - December 5

Members of St. Paul's Disaster Relief mission trip went to Lumberton, NC, an area particularly hard hit by flooding this past fall. 



null Mission Trip to Namibia: July 19th - August 2nd
In coordination with our sister synod, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia (ELCRN), St. Paul's sent a team to Namibia this summer from July 19th - August 2nd to help at some of the 19 orphanages that the ELCRN operates. 



Mission trip to Missouri: February 2016. In February of 2016, Pastor Tom Omholt and others from  worked with All Hands, a disaster response organization, to assist Missouri residents who were affected by severe flooding. Check out the photographs of their adventure and service.