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Expansive Church

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Missions

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At Bethlehem…

There are so many ways to get involved at Bethlehem Lutheran! From serving in our ministries and missions, to church leadership, online donations, and more—your time and support is a gift to God and a gift to our community. It’s also a great way to get to know your fellow congregants!

Explore the opportunities by clicking on the colored tabs above or keep scrolling. 

Expansive Church

EXPANSIVE CHURCH 2023! GRANT RECIPIENTS HAVE BEEN SELECTED!

What is Expansive Church 2023!?
Part of Bethlehem’s mission is to go out into the world and share God’s love! The Expansive Church 2023 grant ministry is one way Bethlehem has chosen to extend God’s love to our surrounding communities!

We are thrilled to share exciting news from BLC’s Expansive Church Grant Committee. After careful consideration and prayerful discernment, we are excited to announce the recipients of this year’s grants. These remarkable organizations are all doing very important work in the Fox River Valley area and are committed to missions that align with many of the values that Bethlehem holds dear: compassion, service and community empowerment.

Each of the organizations listed below has been selected by BLC’s Expansive Church Committee to receive funds to support their individual mission. Combined, almost $24,000 is being given to these organizations that support the Fox River Valley community.

Kane County Christmas Card
Rising Lights
Big Hearts
Random Acts Matter
Elgin Community Bikes
Mutual Ground
CHIP
Joshua Tree
Fox Valley Christian Action

Noisy Offering/BLC Youth Selected Recipients:
Jefferson Micro Pantry
Elgin Community Bikes
Big Hearts

These deserving organizations will receive grant funds by the end of the year, enabling them to further their impactful missions and make a positive difference in the lives of those they serve.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our congregation who make initiatives like the Expansive Church Grant possible. Your generosity allows us to be a beacon of light in our community, embodying the teachings of Christ through service and compassion.

As we eagerly anticipate the positive transformations these grants will bring, let us join together in prayer for the success of these organizations and the individuals they serve. May the spirit of giving and community be with us all.

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WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT EXPANSIVE CHURCH 2023!?

Expansive Church 2023! is an outreach initiative of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in St. Charles, IL. This program is an incubator or an accelerator for entrepreneurs and nonprofits with innovative ideas to address social issues.

This initiative seeks grant applications from entrepreneurs and nonprofits with business models that address social issues and/or community needs. A selection process defined by a team of Bethlehem disciples will determine eligibility and grant awards in December of 2023.

Expansive Church in the news:
St. Charles Church Accepting Grant Applications—Kane County Chronicle
St. Charles Church Creates Grant Opportunity—Kane County Chronicle

For more details on Expansive Church 2023!, click here.

For any questions, please be in touch with Deacon Heather.

EXPANSIVE CHURCH, KIDS!

At BLC, we strive to instill giving hearts in our youth. During the Expansive Church 2023! initiative, we have challenged our children to make Noisy Offerings to contribute to the funds that will be granted to support our local communities!  BLC youth has raised $1000!! Way to go!

Our youth voted on where they’d like the funds they raised distributed. Below is a list of three organizations in the Fox River Valley that will receive funds by the end of this year to support their work:

Jefferson Micro Pantry
Elgin Community Bikes
Big Hearts

 

Ministries

ADULT

Whether you’re looking for larger group activities or more intimate small group discussions, there are many opportunities for learning, friendship, and growth here at Bethlehem! To learn more about our current groups and offerings use our Contact Us form to let us know what your interests are or call our church office at 630-584-2199. 

 

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YOUTH 

The Middle School Ministry, also called Confirmation, is focused on educating our 6-8th graders about what it means to belong to a community of faith. The program begins in the fall of the 6th grade year and concludes in the spring of the 8th grade year. Each year, particular focus is given to a part of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism as well as stories, characters, and themes from throughout Scripture. We place particular emphasis on how scripture and theology intersect with our daily lives.

If you have any questions about our Youth Ministries, please contact Pastor Krista

CHILDREN’S MINISTRIES (GRADES K–5)

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them! For the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

At Bethlehem, we believe our children offer us a glimpse of God’s love on Earth, and we empower them to make a difference in the world around them, serving God in their own lives. Our weekly Sunday School, Stepping Stones milestone classes, and Vacation Bible School allow children to learn about God’s love while feeling a part of a special community and making lasting friendships. For additional information on the programs below, please contact Pastor Krista.

Sunday School

Bethlehem offers Sunday School at 10:45 am each Sunday morning, with classes for children 3 years old through 5th Grade. Quality background-checked volunteers and a Montessori-like model make this an excellent environment for growing in God’s love.

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COMMUNITY CARE MINISTRY

Home Communion Ministry consists of a team of disciples who visit and bring Holy Communion monthly to those who are no longer able to attend worship. These visits are a vital connection to our body and Christ’s love. To request the care of the Home Communion Ministry or to learn more about serving, please contact Pastor Jean Duran.

 

Music

Here at Bethlehem, we’re proud of our diverse and active music program! We invite all who are interested to find an ensemble that brings them joy. Psalm 100 tells us to “make a joyful noise unto the Lord.” Not “perfect” or “flawless” noise—but joyful. We hope you can join us!

If you’re interested in learning more, please contact our Director of Worship and Music David Lincoln

Senior Choir

Bethlehem’s Senior Choir frequently participates at our worship services in the Sanctuary. This adult ensemble—high school plus—rehearses at 7:00pm on Wednesdays in the choir loft and we are always looking for new singers! Please join us at any time—this is not an auditioned group. 

If you’re interested in learning more, please contact our Director of Worship and Music David Lincoln

Youth Music Ministry

Joyful Noise meets Wednesdays from 4:30-5:15pm, grades K-5

The Joyful Noise music program will engage K-5th graders in multi-dimensional music making including singing, bell ringing, dance/movement and sign language. If you’re interested in learning more, please contact our Director of Worship and Music David Lincoln.

Youth Bells meets Wednesdays from 5:15-6:00pm, grades 6-12

Led by Linda Culley, this choir is for grades 6-12 who have a basic knowledge of music.  In addition to learning music, members will build friendships, learn teamwork, enhance the worship experience, all while having fun. Rehearsals are on Wednesdays from 5:15-6 in the choir loft. They will participate in Bethlehem’s worship services approximately once a month, as well as special and festival services. For questions or more information, please contact Linda Culley. Sign up here

Youth Music Helpers assist Wednesdays from 4:30-5:30pm, grades 6-12

6th-12th grade musicians can share their gift of music and develop leadership skills through helping with Joyful Noise rehearsals or instrumental rehearsals. Sign up here

Sounds of Joy Handbells

Sounds of Joy Handbells is led by Michelle Fisher and participates in Bethlehem’s worship service at least once per month in addition to special and festival services.  Sounds of Joy plays a wide variety of music using a 4+ octave range of bells and hand chimes.  If you would like to learn more about joining this group, contact Michelle Fisher

Praise Team

Bethlehem’s Praise Team consists of singers, instrumentalists, and audio/video technicians. They typically rehearse on Thursday evenings and before worship on Sunday mornings. If you’re a strong singer, have experience playing drums, guitar, bass, keyboard, or other instruments in a contemporary worship setting, or if you’ve worked a sound board or PC during presentations, please contact our Director of Worship and Music David Lincoln

Festival Choirs

Bethlehem “pulls out all the stops” on special seasonal occasions and invites anyone who is interested to join a choir. Christmas and Lent/Easter are good examples of times when special music is celebrated in the form of masterworks like an oratorio or requiem, or it may just be a time when we invite all of our ensembles to share their talents with the congregation. Be on the lookout for these special music invitations and please join in!

Reformation Sunday Music and Choir Performance

Worship Leadership

Serving in a leadership role during our worship services is a wonderful way to get to know your fellow congregants and support Bethlehem. Please see the opportunities below and be in touch with the designated contact person for more information. Thank you!

Communion Assistants

Congregation members are invited to participate as communion assistants at all of our Sunday services! There are no special qualifications. It is a joy to share God’s grace and forgiveness with others when serving the bread and wine in communion. Please contact Debby Klapmeier, who coordinates Communion Assistants, for more information or click here to sign up to serve.

Lay Readers

We invite all of our disciples to share God’s word at our worship services! Lay readers volunteer to read Bible verses during the service. And don’t worry! If you need help with any pronunciation, there is always someone there to help you. Please contact John Volkening for more information.

Ushers

Probably the largest of Bethlehem’s volunteer teams, we need ushers to distribute bulletins, collect registrations and offerings, assist with communion, and care for our congregations during worship. Please contact Bob Gehm or Jim Kautz for more information.

Greeters

Our greeters welcome members and guests to worship but are also available to provide direction and answer questions for newcomers. Please contact Pat Geaman for more information or click here to sign up to serve.

Altar Guild

Bethlehem’s Altar Guild is a dedicated group of disciples who prepare the altar and chancel area at all services to assist our pastors in serving God’s meal. Please contact our Alter Guild Coordinator Debby Klapmeier for more information.

Seasonal Worship Planning

A lot of thought and care goes into Bethlehem’s worship services! If you’re interested in being part of our long-range seasonal planning—including themes, art, environment, and overall worship design—please contact Pastor Krista. 

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Missions

Bethlehem Lutheran Church believes in the importance of serving and loving our neighbors. Our congregants actively and regularly volunteer with local groups that provide food, shelter, and other important support and resources to community members in need. More details and sign up links are below. We hope you’ll join us! 

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Hesed House

 

Bethlehem serves Hesed House on the fourth Friday of even numbered months—February, April, June, August, October & December

Hesed House, at 659 River Street near downtown Aurora, is a center for ministries providing services for poor and homeless individuals and families. Housed in a building that was formerly the Aurora incinerator, this facility has now become a beacon of hope and light to hundreds of people who are struggling to rise out of poverty. 

Every other month, BLC provides a hearty dinner for those living at Hesed House. The amount of food necessary to serve approximately 150 people costs $3000 per year, so your gift is truly needed and appreciated.

To help support this important mission, please make a donation here.

If you have any questions, please contact John Maisch at 516-236-3184.

Upcoming Service Dates
(click on the date you’d like to serve to sign up!):
April 26, 2024
June 28, 2024
August 23, 2024
October 25, 2024
December 27, 2024

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Lazarus House

 

Bethlehem serves Lazarus House the 2nd Saturday of each month

Lazarus House, at 214 Walnut Street in St. Charles, serves unhoused men, women, and children each month by providing food, safe shelter, and education. BLC supports this important mission on the 2nd Saturday of each month by providing food to the residents of Lazarus House. We provide a main dish, salad or vegetable, dessert, fruit, milk, and juice. Questions? Please contact our BLC Coordinator for Lazarus House, Barb Ourada at brourada@aol.com.

To help support this important mission, please make a donation here.

We are also in need of overnight volunteers. If you are interested and available or have any questions, please contact Megan Lopez at volunteer@lazarushouse.net or call 630-587-2144.

Upcoming Service Dates
(click on the date you’d like to serve to sign up!):

March 9, 2024
April 13, 2024
May 11, 2024
June 8, 2024
July 13, 2024
August 10, 2024
September 14, 2024
October 12, 2024
November 9, 2024
December 14, 2024

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Lutheran Social Services

Bethlehem has a relationship with the Lutheran Social Services of IL (LSSI). Throughout the year, Bethlehem will host educational sessions or volunteer opportunities that help LSSI complete its mission.

LSSI Needs Foster Parents

During the pandemic, it has become increasingly challenging to recruit foster parents, and to place children in need of foster care. LSSI continues to address these circumstances, but you can help! Please share this video from a Rockford TV station, and direct people interested in becoming a foster parent here. The need for foster parents spans statewide.

Therapeutic Foster Parents Needed in Aurora, Rockford, and Chicago

Be a part of a successful pilot program at Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) by becoming a therapeutic foster parent through programs in Aurora, Rockford, and Chicago. Therapeutic foster care places children with histories of severe trauma and emotional/behavioral needs in family treatment homes where they receive more one-on-one care and attention. The program is evidence-based and provides short-term, intensive support for these children, so that they can thrive in a family home. Therapeutic foster parents receive intensive training, 24/7 support, and a generous daily stipend, and they are part of an evidence-based treatment team. Learn more here.

To learn more about Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, please visit their website at www.lssi.org

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Fox Valley River Initiative

 

The Fox River Valley Initiative (FRVI) is a growing broad-based group of non-partisan, everyday citizens dedicated to resolving pressing social problems facing our communities in Aurora, Batavia, Geneva, St. Charles, and Elgin.

Since its founding in 2010, FRVI has grown to 21 member organizations across the Fox Valley—all churches and institutions that care about change for the common good in our community.  

Fox River Valley Initiative is not a one-issue organization. We want to discover what keeps Bethlehem disciples up at night, what breaks their heart, and how we might work together to make a difference in the Fox Valley. We have an active listening campaign happening now!

Previous listening campaigns at Bethlehem and other institutions identified common concerns: mental health, affordable housing, and criminal justice. The FRVI is based on relationships–both within our member groups and in the larger public arena.  We have partnered with the sheriff’s office, the state’s attorney, local police departments and local city councils. If you’d like to learn more visit the FRVI website here.

For questions or more information about Fox River Valley Initiative, please contact Dori Collins 630-441-3843 or dorierwincollins@gmail.com.

Online Giving

Fill out your 2024 Estimate of Giving form here.

You can support any of the ministries and missions above by giving online.  

Bethlehem Lutheran Church has set up an account with Zelle to offer a new option for online giving. You may be familiar with Zelle, which is accepted by major banks and known for their easy platform for sending and receiving money. If you want to set up your bank account to work with Zelle, simply contact your bank or visit this link to get started.
To donate to Bethlehem Lutheran Church with Zelle:
  1. Open your Zelle account or app.
  2. Enter leslie@bethlehemluth.org as the recipient—Leslie is our financial assistant.
  3. Confirm that “Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church” is listed as the recipient.
  4. IMPORTANT: On the “Notes” line, please list how the money should be credited. Examples: Annual Giving, Expansive Church, or VBS. If the payment is to be split, please consider doing more than one payment or note how much should be credited to each.
  5. Leslie will receive the payment and credit it to your account. Please contact her at leslie@bethlehemluth.org if you have any questions.