Rev. John Steinbruck Leadership Awardees Announced
October 9, 2016
It is with much pride that The Steinbruck Center announced the winners of the first annual Rev. John Steinbruck Leadership Award — Rev. Yehiel Curry of Shekinah Chapel in Riverdale, IL and Rev. Kelly Chatman of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, MN.
The John Steinbruck Leadership award honors individuals who demonstrate visionary leadership expressed through an ability to imagine how church can build community that acts for the sake of the world; effective leadership that leads to impact within the community; and courageous leadership marked by innovate thinking and a willingness to take risks to achieve results.
The award honors the late Pastor John Steinbruck who led Luther Place Memorial Church in prophetic work to create social justice in Washington, D.C. When Steinbruck arrived at Luther Place, Steinbruck confronted a dying church with no sense of purpose and a neighborhood that bore the fruits of racism and divestment — abandoned buildings, drug dealers and prostitution, and an increasing homeless crisis. The church owned 21,000 square feet of land, including five buildings, yet had visions only of building a parking lot. For Steinbruck, that Luther Place had so much space that was used only at eleven o’clock on Sunday morning was a violation of everything he believed and preached.
Instead of barricading his church from its surroundings, he opened its doors to the community. What began as sleeping mats on the floor of the church evolved into a comprehensive continuum of care for homeless and low-income women sited in a 150,000 square foot facility at 14th and N Streets, NW in the Logan Circle neighborhood of D.C. Since then, N St Village has assisted thousands of women by providing services that address both emergency and long-term needs.
The hallmarks of John Steinbruck’s ministry included creating holy imagination for what the church can be and bold action in the faces of indifferent institutional and societal forces. Pastor John and his wife Erna had a commitment to asking the questions – Who are we? Why are we here? What is Jesus to be about in this place?
Look out in the coming weeks for ministry highlights of Shekinah Chapel and Redeemer Lutheran and bios of our awardees.