LSG’s Newest Ministry: "Friends in Hope" - A Visitation Ministry to Immigrants in Detention

We are excited to introduce Lutheran Services of Georgia’s newest ministry, Friends in Hope, a visitation ministry to immigrants in detention. For years our national network, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS), has advocated for the fair treatment and rebuilding of hope for our nation’s most vulnerable newcomers, including those affected by immigration detention. Lutheran Services of Georgia has received a start-up grant to rebuild hope through simple acts of compassion by visiting those housed in Georgia’s detention facilities.

Detainees are affected by what advocates call a flawed policy of mandatory detention for immigrants who may have only committed civil, not criminal, violations. They are imprisoned in harsh conditions for months at a time while awaiting deportation or approval for asylum. LIRS estimates that there are over 400,000 immigrant detainees housed in the U.S.  This means there are over 400,000 opportunities to answer Jesus Christ's call to serve the most vulnerable. LSG's Friends in Hope teams will visit and build relationships with detainees, each visit a simple act of compassion.  We invite you to join us in this new ministry.

The initial visits will be to detainees in the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia.  LSG will partner with El Refugio, another LIRS visitation ministry grant recipient, which has a hospitality house for families of detainees located just outside the Stewart Detention Center.  You can visit the El Refugio website to learn more. Initially, Friends in Hope will be conducting monthly to bimonthly site visitations to offer compassionate support and to build relationships with detainees in the Stewart Detention Center. Prayerfully consider joining us in this ministry of hope and compassion. In addition to helping detainees rebuild hope through visits from a caring friend, Friends in Hope can contribute to creating a culture of welcome in the state of Georgia through friendship, advocacy, and community building.

Orientations for Friends in Hope volunteer visitors will be held on Saturdays, July 21, August 25, and September 29, from 10 a.m. to  noon at the centrally located Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Midtown, Atlanta.  If you would like to attend one of these orientations to learn more about becoming a Friends in Hope visitor, please contact Melanie Johnson ( at 404-875-0201 or 1-800-875-5645.

For more information on the Friends in Hope detention visitation ministry, contact Jacque Ulrich ( or Melanie Johnson ( at 404-875-0201 or 1-800-875-5645.