MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Two years ago, three women — a Lutheran minister and two lay persons — founded Immanuel’s House, an ecumenical “church community in action” dedicated to a social ministry through a strong outreach program.
The founders — Mary Gunderson King, 31, of Hedgesville, W.Va.; Carmen Winiarski, a member of Hub City Vineyard in Hagerstown; and Karen Erskine Valentine, pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Sharpsburg — met at Trinity United Methodist Church in Martinsburg, Gunderson King said.
A fourth member, Teresa Aguilera, came on board later and serves the community’s Hispanic-speaking patrons, she said.
Immanuel’s House’s mission, said Gunderson King, quoting Micah 6:8, is “seek justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God.”
Among its efforts are providing community support to nonprofit and government agencies and churches; a Suds and Bubbles laundry program for the poor; helping people secure documents for their West Virginia ID card, which is necessary to apply for assistance programs; a cold weather shelter; a jail and prison ministry and eventually a community garden network, Gunderson King said.