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Dear Editor:
The Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service issued the following press release.

The Good Samaritan Fund grants committee-consisting of representatives from Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), Baltimore, and Wheat Ridge Ministries, Itasca, Ill.-announces $99,200 in grants to 26 Lutheran congregations in 21 states for 2003. Twenty-six churches will receive an average of $3,800 in grants for such things as computer literacy classes, English as a second language (ESL) instruction, childcare for parents taking ESL classes, art classes, food bank development and newcomer acculturation. A total of 39 congregations of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) applied for Good Samaritan Fund grants this cycle. "LIRS and Wheat Ridge have a special privilege in partnering with local Lutheran congregations to serve and welcome the stranger in ways unique to their communities. We consider it a special blessing to support local ministries that identify needs and develop programs to address them," said LIRS President Ralston H. Deffenbaugh Jr. The Good Samaritan Fund offers seed grants to congregations developing new services to immigrants, asylum seekers, or refugees. Congregations must contribute at least 25 percent of the project cost, either through cash or in-kind support. Funding priority is given to projects that demonstrate at least one of the following services to immigrant communities: social or legal services; joint projects between community members and new residents; and leadership development within the ethnic groups served. Congregations of LIRS's three sponsoring church bodies-the ELCA, the LCMS and the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America-are eligible for Good Samaritan Fund grants. Grants are not available to individuals or church agencies, nor are they made to support refugee reception and placement activities, other refugee resettlement programs, or projects of evangelism. "It is very exciting to know that so many Lutheran congregations are reaching out with health and hope to people who are new arrivals to their community," stated Richard Herman, vice president of Wheat Ridge Ministries. "Wheat Ridge is proud to be a sponsor of the Good Samaritan Grant program and to partner in this effort with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service." Lutheran congregations that wish to be considered for a Good Samaritan Fund grant should visit or for information about the application process. Official 2004 application forms will be available online in the fall. For more information, contact Denise Peterson at 701/298-0288.

Meg Arenberg
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service