Serving, and loving, our neighbors.


 

Hesed House

Next Service Date: August 26, 2022

Sign up here

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. To donate your time at our August service date, please sign up here.

If you’d like to plan ahead, please find all of our 2022 service dates below––and click to sign up!

October 28

December 23

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


 

Lazarus House

Next Service Date: September 10, 2022

Sign up here

Lazarus House serves unhoused men, women, and children each month by providing food, safe shelter, and education right here in downtown St. Charles. 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.

To sign up for our next service date, click here

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


 

St. Andrew Food Distribution


Next Service Date: TBA

Learn more here.

St. Andrew continues to see a need to provide food on Saturday mornings for the West Chicago community. They continue to serve up to 400 families each weekend. Please consider signing up to help pack and distribute food! Volunteers are especially needed on Saturday mornings (volunteer hours are from 8am–10am). 

 

Lutheran Social Services of Illinois

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––Video Resource
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 to LSSI.org/fostercare. 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 at 
LSSI.org/TFC.

To learn more about Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, please visit their website

 


Community Care Ministry

Our Community Care Ministry offers opportunities within Bethlehem to both give and receive care through prayer, presence, and practical help. Through illness, painful loss, or challenging life transition, we strive to walk with one another in Christ-centered love, encouragement, and hope.

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 at rjduran5@att.net.


Fox River Valley Initiative (FRVI)

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 will begin a new listening campaign at Bethlehem in summer, 2022. 

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. Here are some of the accomplishments and works-in-progress:

 

  • Partnered with Mercy Hospital in Aurora to establish a Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU) on their campus
  • Police officers will have an alternative place to drop people who are in a mental health crisis besides the Kane County Jail
  • Worked with state officials to increase funding for CSU patients
  • Partnered in the development of affordable housing at 1212 Larkin in Elgin. All 48 units of this development are fully rented. 
  • In this video Rev. Stacy Walker (St. Charles Episcopal Church) highlights both projects.
  • Collaborated with Kane County Sheriffs and States Attorneys to develop a Kane County Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training Curriculum which trains officers on how to remain calm and deescalate situations when people are experiencing a mental health crisis. (See article from Kane County Chronicle about Geneva Police talking down suicide on bridge)
  • Attended the Kane County Board meetings to monitor the distribution of COVID funds and to advocate for mental health funding in our county.
  • Joined Gun Safety Consortium and the National Campaign, “Do Not Stand Idly By
  • Sheriff Ron Hain recently spoke on this subject (watch here)
  • Provides training for members and leaders at no cost to be effective catalysts for change in our communities
  • Offers congregational development training  
  • Partnered with the Community Purchasing Alliance which provides its member institutions with a more cost-efficient alternative to standard utility purchases. Deacon Heather included Bethlehem in a natural gas buy as part of this group for significant savings. 
Current Member Organizations
  • The Association for Individual Development
  • Bethlehem Lutheran Church, St. Charles
  • Christ the Lord Lutheran Church, Elgin
  • Congregational Church of Batavia
  • Cornerstone United Methodist Church, Elgin
  • Ecker Center for Mental Health, Elgin
  • Family Service Association of Greater Elgin
  • First Congregational Church of Geneva
  • Fox Valley Presbyterian
  • Full Circle Communities
  • Hesed House
  • Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren, Elgin
  • Illinois Education Association
  • Lighthouse Recovery Inc., St. Charles
  • Mercy Housing Lakefront, Elgin, Batavia and Aurora
  • NAMI – Kane, DeKalb, and Kendall Counties
  • Northern IL Conference of the United Methodist Church
  • St. Charles Episcopal Church
  • St. Mark’s Episcopal, Geneva
  • Tri-City Family Services
  • Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva
For questions or more information about Fox River Valley Initiative, please contact Dori Collins 630-441-3843 or dorierwincollins@sbcglobal.net.