ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. When Albuquerque resident Cindy Madsen Frame sent her last child to college, she experienced a noticeable void in her life. Wife of a podiatrist and mother of five, she decided to engage in volunteer work that was genuinely constructive and helpful to others.
For a couple of years, a Roman Catholic friend, Carmel Rippberger, had wanted to nominate her to the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities and she finally agreed. However, as an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she was concerned about whether or not she would be accepted.
After a rather extensive screening process, including an interview with Father John Cannon, who at the time was chancellor of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, she was approved and voted an official member of the board. As a follower of Jesus Christ, this new responsibility enabled her to serve beyond the borders of her own religion.
In fact, soon after receiving this appointment, she accepted an additional responsibility in the LDS church as Coordinating Council Community Service Specialist for the Albuquerque Mission and seven stakes.
In Albuquerque, Catholic Charities provides exemplary service to the community. CEO and Executive Director James Gannon explained that the fundamental purpose is to serve the hungry, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned, as presented in Matthew 25. The overall objective is to help those in need, regardless of their faith or lack of it and to recognize the “human dignity of all individuals.”
With a similar concern to reach out to those in need, the LDS church provides its own services both internationally and locally. A basic conviction can be found in its 13th Article of Faith: “We believe in being . . . benevolent, and in doing good to all men . . .”
Locally the LDS church provides help through the Bishop’s Storehouse, located in Northwest Albuquerque. It is supervised by Dennis and Sue Glenn, who serve as missionaries without pay. Those with an order from an LDS bishop can receive basic food items and other home supplies to fill a temporary need.
Elder Glenn, a retired rocket scientist and nuclear physicist, explained that this facility also interacts with the Barrett Foundation (which specifically assists women and children) and ARCA of New Mexico, a nonprofit organization that helps people with developmental disabilities.
Frame has been instrumental in integrating the community service efforts of these two faiths. She helped organize an exchange between leaders of both religions where Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the presidency of the Seventy met with New Mexico leaders of Catholic Charities and the Catholic Church to support its important work generally.
She has also been an interface that resulted in the LDS church providing mattresses for the Catholic Charities Refugee Settlement and Support program. Beatrice Villegas, who works with refugees at CC, explained that each refugee receives funds to help cover the cost of immediate needs, and must purchase a mattress. By receiving the mattress outright as provided by the LDS church, more money can be used for other necessary expenses to get settled in Albuquerque.
Frame currently oversees more than a dozen service projects with LDS members that directly benefit the refugees, and LDS missionaries in the area have provided over 100 hours of service to Catholic Charities in the past six weeks. Due to her efforts, the LDS church has given CC a one-year grant in which refugees receive a basic supply of food and other household goods through the Bishop’s Storehouse.
Most recently, Frame co-organized the World Refugee Day with the staff from Catholic Charities and with Lutheran Family Services, which took place on Saturday, June 18, 2016 at the Cesar Chavez Center. Numerous volunteers from the LDS church also participated. The event included free food and drinks, a naturalization ceremony, art activities, music, dancing, and a carnival with face painting and other offerings for 75 refugee children. It represented the effort to build a bridge with an additional faith community, the Lutheran Church.
In the parable of the Good Samaritan, a man helps his neighbor regardless of race, nationality, religion, or status. In Albuquerque, we find several faiths working together to assist the afflicted, the displaced, and the needy, without judgment. This collective effort is due in part to Sister Frame, who stepped out of the boundaries of her own religion to assist with the compassionate service of another.
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