Past Issues of Good Works
¡Olé España! - 10/10/2013
¡Bienvenidos! Together with The Women’s Network of Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI),
I invite you to join us as we celebrate another year of service to our neighbors in need.
People with addictions can get better - 09/26/2013
Last Sunday, I read a very troubling cover story, “Heroin: The Human Toll” in the Chicago Tribune,
about the epidemic of heroin-related deaths in the suburbs. In 18 days, 11 people died –
the youngest victim not quite 16 years old.
Meet Carmella: 'A spunky woman' - 09/12/2013
By all accounts, Carmella Lira was a spunky woman. But life had not always been easy.
She raised three children as a single mother. She lived with diabetes for 40 years,
including seven years on dialysis.
Your gift to help a child: doubled today! - 08/29/2013
Lisa was just nine years old when her mother, Denise, was arrested in front of her home>
for selling and using drugs.
Let’s Celebrate 25 years of the ELCA - 08/08/2013
Today, I’d like to congratulate the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) on
its upcoming 25th Anniversary, which will be celebrated on September 8.
Good Works: Who is my neighbor? - 07/18/2013
“Are these people for real?” That’s a high school student commenting about a group
of people from Trinity Lutheran Church in Rolling Meadows who, more than a year ago,
embarked on an outreach ministry to teenaged parents like her, providing support,
friendship and monthly potlucks dinners.
Good Works: 'Full circle': from prison to hope - 07/02/2013
For 24 years, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) has been transporting
Chicago children to visit their incarcerated mothers through our “Visits to Mom” program.
Good Works: Two cycling pastors ‘Pedal for a Purpose’ - 06/20/2013
Beginning this Sunday, on June 23, Rev. Adam Dichsen, pastor of Faith Lutheran Church
in Jacksonville, and Rev. Scott Egbers, pastor of First Lutheran Church in Beardstown,
will lead a group of about 17 cyclists on a 282-mile, four-day journey called
'Pedal for a Purpose,' from Quincy to Danville.
Good Works: Help us bring 'Handfuls of Hope' - 06/06/2013
Summer is the season of simple and timeless joys — like the smell of fresh cut grass,
charcoal grills and special treats like sweet, savory kettle corn.
Good Works: Our common good: all for one, one for all! - 05/22/2013
Since 2004, we’ve held an annual Lutheran Day in Springfield, where Lutherans and
other people of good will from across the state gather to learn, pray and take action
for greater justice and compassion in Illinois.
Good Works: Wanted: A few (or many!) good women - 05/02/2013
Ah, the Lutheran potluck. The meatballs, those gelatin molds, the made-from-scratch
desserts served with coffee from an industrial-sized, stainless steel pot.
Wherever Lutherans gather for circle meetings, quilting groups, Bible study or
church council meetings -- there's always food.
You can give this story a happy ending! - 04/18/2013
“It’s like sharing bedtime every night, even though we are not there,” shares
Jacqueline, an incarcerated mom at an Illinois prison. “It’s just like I am
sending her a hug.”
Pr. Denver Bitner retires: Thanking a servant leader – 04/02/13
As the Christian Church celebrates God’s triumph over death in the resurrection
of Jesus, we also celebrate that by baptism each of us has been called and anointed
to continue Jesus’ ministry of responding with love and compassion to people living with various burdens and disabilities.
This Easter, give hope - 03/21/2013
Easter brings us hope -- a hope that is firmly rooted in our faith in Jesus Christ.
As we look toward Easter, I want you to know how your gifts to Lutheran Social
Services of Illinois (LSSI) provide hope for the people we serve.
Celebrating social work & ‘the profession of hope’ - 03/08/2013
March is National Social Work Month. As social workers are among my favorite
people in the world -- especially the ones who work here at Lutheran Social
Services of Illinois (LSSI).
Lucile: 'I'm staying right here.' - 02/21/2013
“I believe in growing old gracefully. Because otherwise, you’re up the creek!”
Lucile is indeed growing old gracefully as she approaches her 89th birthday
Why it’s important: Mental health for kids - 02/07/213
As parents, we worry about our children -- no matter what their age.
But I think we worry the most about our young ones who are just
starting out in life.
Our gratitude for an outpouring of gifts - 01/24/2013
G. K. Chesterton once said that “gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”
That’s how I feel when I think about the outpouring of gifts and support given to
Lutheran Social Services of Illinois for our clients at Christmas.
A challenge for all of us in the new year - 01/10/2013
Every year begins with new opportunities and new challenges. In 2013, we at
LSSI will be called on to provide more human care services than ever before
with the lowest level of funding in decades.
Before this year ends, make a life-changing gift - 12/27/2012
It’s so hard to believe that Christmas has passed and we are about to begin
a brand new year.
Finding stillness this Christmas - 12/13/2012
How we crave a bit of quiet in the incredible hustle and bustle that makes up
most of our days. Everywhere we go, we are deafened by the sound of traffic,
electronic devices or the whirring of machinery.
Change someone’s life: Double the impact of your gift - 11/29/2012
Each Christmas season, we celebrate the story of how God brought the
great light of hope – Jesus Christ – into our lives!
Thankful for Family - 11/15/2012
There is something that happens to me almost everywhere I preach on
behalf of LSSI. In almost every congregation, someone comes up and says,
“We adopted our child/children through LSSI. Thank you for the work you do!”
Honoring and celebrating our vets - 11/01/2012
On November 9, more than 30 veterans from our Intouch Adult Day Services and
Intouch Home Care Services in Moline, programs of LSSI, will join with other
veterans being honored for their selfless contributions to our country.
Helping seniors stay ‘in the driver’s seat’ - 10/18/2012
“I am still in the driver’s seat.” What a powerful statement that is. It was spoken
by Ruth, an 89-year-old mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and current
resident at P.A. Peterson Center for Health in Rockford, one of two long-term
care and rehabilitation facilities run by LSSI.
It’s time to celebrate true friends - 10/04/2012
A true friend is one soul in two bodies. That was Aristotle’s idea of amicus certus.
For LSSI, Amicus Certus (“true friend”) is the name of the award given at our
annual fall celebration, presented to a person who has made significant
contributions to the human community.
Helping children tell the story of their lives - 09/20/2012
Most of us know the story of our lives. We have fond memories from our childhood. Our
parents and grandparents have shared family tales and photographs that last a lifetime.
A hundred youth, happy to serve - 09/10/2012
Question: What would it take on a hot, muggy summer morning to motivate 100 teenagers
to get out of bed and away from their social networking? Answer: A really good service project!
Doing good in memory of Josh - 08/23/2012
Could there be any greater sorrow in this world for a parent than
the loss of a child? I can’t imagine what it would be. Nor can I imagine
how I would handle such devastating grief.
Head Start: Getting Kids Ready for the Adventure of Learning -08/09/2012
I have always liked September. It has a newness about it. And an air of anticipation.
Maybe that's because, for me, the new school year started in September (although now,
I know, it sometimes starts earlier).
Faith translated into action: Hands at Work - 07/26/2012
As I have the opportunity to travel to churches around Illinois, I’m often struck
both by how much our ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) congregations
are doing to serve people in need and also by how much more need there is out there,
especially for those hurt most by our challenging economic climate.
LSSI spells ‘Home’ for seniors - 06/28/2012
Rockford is home for me, the place where I have lived for 40 years with my wife, Pam,
and raised our children. I love living there.
A different sort of Father’s Day reflection - 06/14/2012
Father’s Day is this Sunday – a time to honor the special connection fathers have with
their children. Have you ever wondered what it’s like for a dad who is in prison and
separated from his children? In one word, it’s tough.
Join me and Dr. Martin Marty for Jazz Psalms - 05/31/2012
I would like to invite you to join me for a unique musical and worship experience: the
30th anniversary performance of Andy Tecson’s Jazz Psalms: “I will praise God still!”,
which will be held on June 17 (Father’s Day) at 4:00 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church
in River Forest.
Walking women to their dreams - 05/17/2012
"[When a mother is incarcerated], everyone does the time. The families count the days,
months and years, just like the mom." That's Sheryl Thompson's belief, and she should
know -- she is the warden of Dwight Correctional Center for Women.
Every child deserves a Lifebook - 05/03/2012
Lots of people have foggy memories from their childhood in which the details
may be vague, out of sequence or, in some cases, simply inaccurate. But most
people have a parent or another person who can help them put the puzzle pieces
of the past together.
Meet our amazing volunteers! - 04/19/2012
April is National Volunteer Month, and I’d like to take this opportunity to recognize
and thank the many volunteers who help Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI)
each and every day to serve people in need in a variety of wonderful, essential ways.
LSSI brings Easter hope - 04/05/2012
In many ways, the mission statement of Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI)
could read "bringing Easter to people and communities across the state of Illinois."
Celebrate Easter by sowing seeds of hope - 03/22/2012
Farmers and gardeners are people of hope. And this is exactly the time of
year when that hope is most evident, as farmers and gardeners think about
what seeds they will plant in this spring.
Celebrating 'Opening Day' at Shady Oaks - 03/08/2012
Last Friday, I took part in a very special celebration at our Shady Oaks program
in Homer Glen. Shady Oaks is an intermediate care residence for 32 adults with
developmental disabilities, including cerebral palsy.
Legacy Corps: Making someone's life better every day - 03/02/2012
I’d like to share an excerpt of a letter we received from Jan Rabbit, a client
of our Legacy Corps program, whose husband Lou was diagnosed with MS in
Respite and relief for caregivers - 02/09/2012
Are you a caregiver for an older loved one, perhaps one of your parents?
These days, many people include caregiver as one of their primary roles in life.
Help and hope right here, right now - 01/26/2012
If you’ve ever been in a hospital’s emergency room (ER) – as either
a patient or visitor – I’m sure you can recall the chaotic atmosphere.
Celebrating generous hearts - 01/13/2012
Thanks to the many people with generous hearts, we at Lutheran Social
Services of Illinois (LSSI) were able to put three times the gifts under
Christmas trees for our clients as we did last year.
You still have time to change someone's life! - 12/29/2011
Christmas Day may be past but 2011 isn't over yet! You still have time this
year to make a life-changing gift to help our Illinois neighbors who are in need.
This Christmas, a wondrous gift of love will be shared with others - 12/21/2011
"How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is given!" So begins the
third verse of the beloved carol “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” recognizing
that God’s best work is often done in the quiet of the night and without
This Christmas, your gift makes twice the difference - 12/8/2011
Sometimes life takes an unexpected turn, and it’s one of our employees who
needs our services at Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI). That’s what
happened to Dorothy, who suffered a brain aneurysm 11 years ago
The Stars Are Out Tonight - 10/27/2011
Are you ever nostalgic for the golden age of Hollywood, when the movie
stars seemed more elegant and sophisticated than they do today? If so,
you'll fit right in at this year's Amicus Certus ("True Friend") celebration.
Finding balance in our lives - 10/13/2011
As part of our commitment to bringing wholeness to people and
communities, I’m very excited to tell you about a new wellness program
Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) is offering to congregations.
Learning 'life lessons' at school - 09/29/2011
I think you’d agree that for kids, school is about much more than
learning math, English, science and computers.
What a difference a life can make - 09/15/2011
"His success meant success to the community in which he lived. As a
constructive city builder, he was surpassed by none in our beautiful city.
Help more children find loving homes - 09/01/2011
Melanie, Stephanie and Faith were placed in foster care because of their
parents’ substance abuse and an unsafe home environment.
Celebrating one year of being sober - 08/18/2011
We know that children learn by imitation. They copy us, our behaviors,
our attitudes, our preferences. Most of the time, this is a good way for them
to learn and to form a pattern for their lives.
From prison to school to work - 08/4/2011
If you think it’s hard to find a job in these difficult economic times,
just imagine the obstacles faced by someone who has recently been
released from prison.
More than vegetables growing in this garden - 07/29/2011
Lately, I've learned that so much more grows in a garden besides
vegetables and flowers.
What grows faster: carrots or sweet potatoes? - 07/07/2011
The preschoolers at Messiah Head Start, one of Lutheran Social Services
of Illinois' (LSSI) programs, know the answer to that question. In the past
year, they've studied how plants grow in a new science curriculum.
A thousand voices tell our story - 06/23/2011
There is a Native American proverb that says “It takes a thousand voices
to tell a single story.”
'I want to stay here forever - 06/17/2011
Earlier this month, I had a wonderful time visiting with the residents
and staff of Washington Place in Beardstown for a very special occasion:
the home’s 20th anniversary. Washington Place, a program of Lutheran
Social Services of Illinois, is a group home for adults with
Autism housing: Let’s address this need - 05/19/2011
Almost every good thing that happens in a community occurs when an
individual or a group of people sees a need and steps forward and says,
"Let's figure out how to address this."
Easter's message: all is well - 04/20/2011
At Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI), we are an Easter people,
seeking to share the message and hope of this sacred season. But sometimes
that hope can be hidden in the complexity and brokenness of everyday life.
Caring for elders in our 'village' - 04/04/2011
You've probably heard the African proverb "It takes a village to
raise a child." But I don’t think children are the only ones in need
of a "village."
Read all about our Bookfair! - 03/16/2011
Once upon a time, there were good people all over the United States
who wanted to help children whose parents were in prison. But
the good people really didn’t know what they could do to make
'I had people who never gave up on me' - 03/02/2011
Helping kids find a safe and loving home -- through foster care or
adoption -- is an important part of our mission of bringing healing,
justice and wholeness to people and communities.
Keeping families connected: The Storybook Project - 02/15/2011
I love to read. Some of my fondest memories include being read to
as a child and reading to my own children when they were young.
Moving toward health in body & mind - 02/01/2011
On Chicago's northwest side, there's a place of hope and encouragement
for people who are struggling with mental illness and poverty.
What does the tax increase mean for LSSI? - 01/24/2011
Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) exists for one reason — to serve
people in need. But we can't do this work by ourselves.
Christmas Wrap-Up - 01/06/2011
Thanks to many people with big hearts, we just celebrated a very special
Christmas at Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI).
Christmas Help - 12/21/2010
What are you doing for Christmas? That's a question many of us
are asking each other these days.
Christmas Appeal - 12/02/2010
As you plan your year-end giving, please remember Lutheran Social Services
of Illinois. Thanks to a generous match from LSSI and Cornerstone
Foundation Trustees, every donation we receive between now and
the end of December will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, up to $125,000.
Intouch Adult Day Services - 11/16/2010
Judy Lovett, a friend of our Intouch Adult Day Services in Moline, recently
said: "God provides people to help us, and God provides places like Intouch."
Amicus Certus 2010 - 10/26/2010
Almost all of us ask the question, "Who am I?" at some point in our lives.
But that's a question that is particularly critical to many people who
Community Forum - 10/12/2010
I sometimes wonder if in election years there's a full moon during the whole
month of October. In the midst of all of the rhetoric, accusations and counter
attacks that are part of political campaigns, I hear little discussion of the
fundamental questions facing our state and our country.
Faith Love and Hope 09/28/2010
I have an amazing story of faith, hope and love for you. Jamal, Jerome
and Jorell were born into a family with a history of drug use, sexual
abuse and criminal activity.