Christians in Social Work Practitioners Panel PGE 78

The teaching of Jewish and Christian scripture, and for Christians, particularly the example and teachings of Jesus, Paul, and the first writers of Christian scripture have emphasized the mandate to care for people. Some of the roots of the caring efforts of social work are in the Jewish/Christian tradition. There is much parallel and overlap between social work and Judaism and Christianity. Some of Christianity’s most important and effective ministries are done by Christians in social work.

This episode and the next seeks to give us a better understanding of social work and its relationship with Christianity. We will explore this relationship from two perspectives–that of practitioners and that of scholars. The engagement in scholarship and in practice really is not separated in my guests. They each participate in both areas, but for conversational purposes, we make the distinction.

This episode focuses on the practitioners. My guest are Dr. Rick Chamiec-Case, Lauren ‘Lo’ Reliford, and Dr. Lloyd Gestoso.

Rick is currently a self-employed faith-based nonprofit consultant. Before becoming self-employed, from 1988-1998 Rick was Director of Services and then Senior Vice President of Always Reaching for Independence. From 2006-2008 he was Assistant Professor of Social Work at Calvin College. And, from 1997-2021 Rick was Executive Director of North American Association of Christians in Social Work.

Lauren ‘Lo’ is the Political Director for Sojourners. Prior to coming to Sojourners, with over ten years of research, policy, advocacy, and government relations, Lo worked in domestic and international public health advocacy for a number of large nonprofit organizations. At Sojourners, Lo is responsible for developing and implementing Sojourners’ policy strategy, positioning, framing, messaging, and advocacy for outreach and impact on Capitol Hill and the presidential administration.

Lloyd has served in contexts dealing with child welfare and those living with opioid addiction and HIV/AIDS. He served in several hospitals and was the director of social services of a front-line AIDS housing/hospice serving the neediest people dying of AIDS in the Philadelphia region. Lloyd then transitioned to teaching undergraduate social work students leading a Department of Social Work which later became a School of Social Work with the addition of a Master of Social Work Program.  After 23 years of academic life, Lloyd was appointed as the current Executive Director of the North American Association of Christians in Social Work.

The intro and outro music for this episode is from a clip of a song called ‘Father Let Your Kingdom Come’ which is found on The Porter’s Gate Worship Project Work Songs album and is used by permission by The Porter’s Gate Worship Project.