Reaching Out to Community

Four years ago, St. Mark's Lutheran Church, Aurora, signed a contract with LSSI to allow the use of their former parsonage as a home for people with developmental disabilities. Now called Fox Trail Home, it provides a caring home for three adults living with autism.

The parsonage had sat empty and was used occasionally for church events. The congregation wanted a more meaningful use for the space and partnering with LSSI proved to be such a match.

St. Mark's is involved with LSSI in other ways. Congregation members, called the "Bread Wrappers," collect unbought baked goods from Panera and Jake's Bagels after the stores close, and every Wednesday morning, deliver them to Downer's Place, one of LSSI's affordable senior housing residences in Aurora. At Christmas, St. Mark's "giving tree" provides a way for congregants to fulfill the Christmas present wishes of children in foster care. The congregation always participates in LSSI's Good Shepherd Sunday.

St. Mark's is currently led by Interim Senior Pastor Paul Olson, who has a long history of partnership with LSSI, including service on the Board of Directors, and Associate Pastor Patrick Fish.

"Our church is very committed in outreach," said Deb Arcilla, St. Mark's office manager. "LSSI does a really good job of reaching out to people. That's something we, as a Lutheran congregation, want to be a part of."

St. Mark's "Bread Wrappers" prepare donated baked goods for distribution to local nonprofits.