One of San Antonio's most prominent pastors has been named to the newly created position of liaison between the City and the area religious community, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The Rev. Ann Helmke has been a Lutheran minister in San Antonio for more than a quarter century. She is a co founder of the San Antonio PeaceCENTER and she is the Director of Spiritual Services at the Haven for Home.
Helmke is nationally recognized for her activism in the community. She founded the Gang Summit concept in the City, and in 2014, she was named the National Public Citizen of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers.
"Reverend Helmke is a champion in the community where her social services center provides immediate help to the homeless, victims of abuse, and many others," said NASW Chief Executive Officer Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW. "Her compassion continues to lift those who might be disenfranchised up from poverty and pain. We applaud her."
Councilman Cris Medina says the City Faith-Based Liaison role will include working with groups from all faiths in the diverse city to coordinate efforts in areas like poverty, support for women, teenage pregnancy and job growth.
“Rev. Helmke has been serving San Antonio for over 25 years and is one of the co-founders of the San Antonio peaceCenter,” said Councilman Medina. “Her experience there working with volunteers and people of diverse faiths, as well as her experience as Director of Spiritual Services at Haven for Hope, makes her uniquely qualified to serve as our city’s first Faith-Based Liaison.”
San Antonio is one of the first major cities to create a full time staff position dedicated to working with local religious groups, pastors, and congregants to achieve progress in many key social areas.