Social Ministry

Our Saviour's Lutheran Church supports four main areas of Social Ministries:
• Community Development
• Social Advocacy & Justice
• Food & Shelter Issues
• Community Education & Support


Community Development

• Bethel New Life operates as a community investment organization on Chicago’s West Side that is focused on creating opportunities to bring individuals and families out of poverty. Bethel strives for systematic and policy changes that are necessary to lift an entire community out of poverty. Bethel New Life invests in people who are ready to invest in themselves. Our Saviour's participates in a Christmas gift sharing program with Bethel families. This annual program kicks off in November and wraps up before Christmastime in December.  Our Saviour's Bethel New Life Coordinators: Kim & David Lawson

• Holy Family Lutheran School is a private, faith-based K through 8th grade Chicago school that provides a high quality education at an affordable price.  Holy Family offers a safe and calm learning environment with small class sizes, nurturing academic values and skills, along with spiritual and social values that lead to self discipline, personal responsibility, and goal-setting.  Students are prepared for success in high school and beyond. OSLC Holy Family Ministries Coordinator: Debbie Cline

Social Advocacy & Justice

• UPAJ: United Power for Action & Justice is a non-partisan community organization composed of 40 religious congregations, not-for-profit groups, hospitals, health centers and civic organizations from across Cook County. Volunteer leaders are the backbone; they are concerned citizens who consult with neighbors, shape goals and strategy to address pressing social problems and pressure people in power to seek positive, creative solutions. OSLC UPAJ Coordinator: Dan Wertz

• LSSI Lutheran Advocacy through Lutheran Social Services of Illinois works with all three synods in Illinois to organize grassroots support for state and federal policies that reflect ELCA social statements, resolutions and messages on public policy issues. The primary focus of the state public policy office is sustainable funding for human services that provide a vital safety net for all people in Illinois. Lutheran Advocacy–Illinois also addresses environmental and civil rights issues.

• LSSI Prisoner and Family Ministry through Lutheran Social Services of Illinois provides services for incarcerated persons at 25 Illinois prisons and jails, along with services for their families. This ministry also provides services for “returning citizens” -- men and women who were previously incarcerated and are re-entering the community. Our Saviour's asks volunteers to drive children to downstate Illinois to spend a day at the prison where their mother may be incarcerated. Children's books are also collected for this program.

• The Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants is a coalition of religious leaders and advocacy groups who are called to respond actively and publicly to the suffering of all individuals and communities affected by immigration detention through public witness, advocacy, pastoral care and other activities.

Food & Shelter Issues

Our Saviour's Lutheran Church shares food with the following local food pantries: Northwest Compass, Lutheran Church of the Cross, and the Wheeling Township Food Pantry.

• Chicago Uptown Ministry (through LCFS-Lutheran Child & Family Services) is a faith-based safe haven that facilitates and supports the passage of individuals from the fringes of society into the mainstream.

• Faith Community Homes is an initiative of churches in Arlington Heights that focuses on helping low income working families who live or work in Arlington Heights manage their housing and life challenges with mentoring and financial support. OSLC Coordinator: Loryn Ankeny

• Habitat for Humanity - Spring of Life Partnership is a partnership of eight churches in Chicago’s northwest suburbs that builds affordable housing under the auspices of the Northern Fox Valley Affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International.  Although the partnership is committed to providing the volunteers and money required to complete each house it starts, we welcome community support and volunteers of all faiths—or no faith—who actively embrace Habitat’s goals of eliminating housing poverty. Click here for more info. OSLC Coordinator - Craig Swanson

• PADS: Public Action to Deliver Shelter Each Saturday evening to Sunday morning, from October to April, Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church provides critical services for the local homeless community by providing overnight shelter, showers, laundry facilities, a hot dinner, breakfast, and a bag lunch in a warm, safe, nonjudgmental atmosphere with respect and dignity for all.

Our Saviour's Lutheran Church is one of 18 faith-based shelter sites that is managed and staffed entirely by volunteers. With close to 900 shifts to fill each season, we are always in need of new volunteers.

If you are looking for direct interaction with guests during shelter hours, consider serving dinner or breakfast. If you like to see the immediate fruits of your labor, then consider working the clean-up shift. Are you unable to contribute during shelter hours? Consider helping with food donations, or sorting clothing donations. Those who like to provide or prepare food might consider donating lunch ingredients, preparing dinner or breakfast entrees. PADS always needs more 2nd & 3rd shift volunteers!

The requirement for becoming a volunteer is attendance at a PADS training session and an orientation / tour at Our Saviour’s. PADS is a ministry of giving where each volunteer also receives. We serve God by serving others in thankfulness for all that we receive through this ministry! Contact the PADS volunteer director at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details. For additional information, contact either of the PADS site co-directors: Sheryl Hilbert at 847-337-9104 or Bruce Freier at 773-656-0606.

• Summer Supper Program: The first Wednesday of each summer month (May through September) we serve a meal for the local homeless community. Dinner is served at 6:30 pm. Volunteers cook the meals and serve the guests dinner.  The only shifts is from 5:30 to 8:00 pm. The congregation supports this program with home cooked meals, barbeques, and assorted clothing and food items we give to our guests.  Summer Supper Coordinator is Kristin Reinger.

• Shelter Inc. provides community based, emergency and long-term housing for children and adolescents who are abused, neglected, dependent, or in need of supervision.

• WINGS: Women in Need Growing Stronger helps homeless and abused women and children by offering integrated services that meet their needs for shelter, education, guidance and support. WINGS provides safe and secure living environments, through transitional housing and emergency shelter, in residential neighborhoods that allow women to go to school, work, and achieve financial and emotional independence. OSLC Coordinator: Debbie Cline

• Project Lifeline offers the women in the WINGS program and those who have graduated, the opportunity to pair with a mentor - a woman from the community who has volunteered her time to provide support to the client. The mentor’s role is to offer companionship, stability, advocacy, career assistance, home visits and social activities for the participants.

Community Education & Support

• JourneyCare provides compassionate end-of-life care and pain and symptom management to thousands of patients and families, making every moment count for those touched by serious illness and loss.

• Behavioral Health Services (through LSSI-Lutheran Social Services of Illinois) Offers a variety of mental health services to residents of the Northwest side of Chicago. Behavioral Health Services serves people throughout their lives, beginning at age 3 and continuing throughout childhood and their adult years. Their goal is to help persons with mental illness live a full and rich life, reaching their potential at home, at work, and socially.

• Steps to Life (through LSSI-Lutheran Social Services of Illinois) A program for teens in foster care that assists adolescents in their transition to adulthood. Youth meet weekly and participate in a program with a life-skills curriculum based on motivational principles such as inspiration, perseverance, competence, responsibility and integrity. Participants enjoy enrichment and life skills seminars, group rap sessions, field trips, motivational speakers, overnight retreats, movies and music.

• Life Span is committed to the cessation of domestic & sexual violence and to the immediate relief of those who suffer from its consequences.

• Society for the Preservation of Human Dignity (PHD) Today there are thousands of women in the community who are pregnant or parenting a child or children who have limited or no network of support. PHD has grown rapidly from a telephone crisis line into a sophisticated professional counseling center serving women throughout the north and northwest suburbs of Chicago.

• Journeys from PADS to HOPE is a collaborative effort between the HOPE Center and PADS shelter sites focusing on intervention and prevention for those in need. The clinical staff at the HOPE Center provide a wide array of psychological services, including mental health counseling, vocational rehabilitation, and housing assistance, all geared to helping our persons achieve independence. Along the way, 19 faith-based emergency shelter sites provide dinners and a safe, warm place to sleep from October through April.

• The Night Ministry is a Chicago-based organization that works to provide housing, health care and human connection to members of our community struggling with poverty or homelessness. With an open heart and an open mind, people are accepted as they are, and work to address their immediate physical, emotional and social needs while affirming their sense of humanity. The Night Ministry's Health Outreach Bus, Youth Outreach Van, and Youth Shelter Network works in Chicago neighborhoods to reach adults, teens, pregnant and new moms who have nowhere else to go.

• Read to Learn believes that to solve socioeconomic problems, we must start by building a more literate adult population.  When individuals learn how to read, write, do basic math, and use computers, the more likely they are to lift themselves out of poverty, and find and keep sustainable employment. OSLC Coordinator: Debbie Cline

General Social Ministry Programs

• Love-in-Action Bags - this program occurs several times a year, when empty bags are distributed to OSLC members as they depart worship services one weekend with the request that these bags are returned the following weekend. Donations are requested for a wide-range of social ministries programs including toiletries for our PADS guests, prison inmates, or non-perishable foods for CEDA or WINGS pantries, or school supply items for Holy Family Ministries. Check the Social Ministry board in the north narthex for the donation schedule.

• Meals on Wheels - Our Saviour’s supports the Wheeling Meals on Wheels non-profit organization that helps fill the need of many senior citizens by providing nutritious meals delivered to their doors. OSLC Coordinator: Debbie Cline