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Five LCMS Northern Illinois District Ministries Awarded Grants

Five LCMS Northern Illinois District ministries were awarded grants by LCMS Life Ministry through the Synod’s 1 John 3 Initiative Million Dollar Life Match, which is providing $1 million in matching grants to LCMS congregations involved in pro-life efforts in their local communities.

37 recipients were chosen after a careful review process that included input from staff of the LCMS Office of National Mission, LCMS district presidents or their representatives, and district life coordinators.

“It is exciting to learn about the variety of mercy work being done by LCMS congregations across the country and to partner with them to expand their capacity,” said Deaconess Dr. Tiffany Manor, director of LCMS Life Ministry, who is overseeing the grant program. “There are some very creative projects that are providing spiritual, emotional and physical care. All of the projects chosen share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with people in the communities.” (The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, August 11, 2022, Million Dollar Life Match Grants Awarded, https://reporter.lcms.org/2022/press-release-million-dollar-life-match-grants-awarded.)

Grants were given out in two categories to NID ministries:

Congregational projects directly caring for families experiencing challenges at the beginning of life

  • Our Savior Lutheran Church, Carol Stream, IL

Partnerships with LCMS Recognized Service Organizations

  • Bethany Lutheran Church, Naperville, IL
  • Andrews Lutheran Church, Park Ridge, IL
  • Peter Lutheran Church and School, Schaumburg, IL
  • Trinity Lutheran Church, Burr Ridge, IL

The two other categories were:

  • Supporting foster care and adoption in collaboration with local agencies
  • Collaborations with local pregnancy resource centers

Additional grants will be awarded during two more phases of the Million Dollar Life Match. A second set of applications is currently undergoing the review process, and applications for the third phase will be accepted November 1, 2022, through January 22, 2023. All LCMS congregations are encouraged to apply.

Learn more about the 1 John 3 Million Dollar Life Match at lcms.org/serve/grants/life-grant.



October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month

God loves each and every one of us.  Created in the Image of God, we recognize the incalculable value of human lives. Every person’s body clearly illustrate the wonders and elegance of God’s creation.

As a church body, and wholly supporting life ministry, we support, care, and embrace individuals with Down Syndrome, providing a listening ear and offering prayers just as we do for all.

In supporting life ministries, we advocate for acceptance and inclusion of people with Down Syndrome. We also educate ourselves. Here are some important facts to know:

  • Down syndrome is caused by 3 copies of chromosome 21. It is the most common chromosome disorder. In the USA, every year about 1 out of every 700 babies born is born with Down syndrome.
  • While women over the age of 35 are more likely to have a child with Down syndrome, 80% of babies with Down syndrome are born to women under the age of 35 because they have higher fertility rates.
  • The life expectancy of people with Down syndrome has dramatically increased.
    • Life expectancy in 1900: 9 years
    • Life expectancy in 1984: 28 years
    • Life expectancy today: about 60 years
  • Down syndrome is named after Dr. John Langdon Down, who first described Down syndrome. In the UK, it is often written as Down’s syndrome. In the US, it is usually written as Down syndrome.
  • Using person-first language helps to emphasize that people with Down syndrome are people first. It is preferable to say a baby/child/person with Down syndrome because it emphasizes personhood rather than a Downs baby or a Downs person.
  • People with Down syndrome have some common characteristics, but they are all unique and different. A person with Down syndrome may have characteristic facial features of Down syndrome, but they also look like their siblings and family members.
  • There are some stereotypes that people with Down syndrome are “sweet,” “kind,” “innocent,” and “loving.” While this can be the case for many individuals with Down syndrome, every person with Down syndrome is unique and different, capable of experiencing the full range of human emotions. Additionally, every person with Down syndrome has unique gifts and abilities. Some are marvelous musicians, others are talented artists, while still others may be gifted athletes. Just like all people, people with Down syndrome have individual attributes and interests that make them unique.
  • All people with Down syndrome have some degree of intellectual disability. The degree of disability can vary widely.
  • People with Down syndrome tend to be visual learners. Using pictures and signs can help support their learning and understanding. It can be much harder for people with Down syndrome to learn from listening to directions.
  • People with Down syndrome sometimes take longer to process information and respond. When asking a question, giving a person with Down syndrome more time to respond can be helpful. Try counting to 10 after asking a question to give the person with Down syndrome more time to process and respond.
  • We have learned that children with Down syndrome often learn better when they are included in mainstream schools with their typically-developing peers
  • The majority of children with Down syndrome can learn to read and write
  • More and more adults with Down syndrome are attending college and living independently or semi-independently.
  • Many people with Down syndrome are interested in employment. They can make great employees! Including more people with Down syndrome in the workplace is the next frontier in the mission to further inclusion of people with Down syndrome in society.
  • People with Down syndrome want to be included in their community. Working toward inclusion at all levels – schools, employment, and social settings – insures that people with Down syndrome are valued and contributing members of their community.
  • Families of people with Down syndrome are not superheroes. They need support and friendship. Parents of children with Down syndrome are no different from any other parent, and they may be navigating a parenting journey they were not expecting. Listening to their experiences is an invaluable way to provide support.

Throughout October, celebrate people with Down syndrome and raise awareness of their abilities and accomplishments.

Life ministry has become an established ongoing mission of the LCMS Northern Illinois District. Educating people about life issues and providing opportunities to put faith into action is the dual focus.

 



Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

On Friday, June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States, in its opinion concerning the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, OVERTURNED the federal right to abortion created by the court in its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade.

Chairman of the LCMS-NID Life Task Force, Rev. Cory Estby, was invited to participate in an immediate press conference that day in downtown Chicago with March for Life Chicago, WeDignify, IL Right to Life, and the Thomas More Society. With 6 microphones/cameras in front of us, they proclaimed a message that affirms the sanctity of human life from the time of conception in the womb. In ‘reserved celebration’, this is only a first step towards a society and culture that recognizes the value of all human life made in the image of the Creator, especially as it pertains to our current IL state laws.

Anti-abortion advocates rally in South Loop after Roe v. Wade overturned | WGN-TV (wgntv.com)

The following is a draft of his speech that day:

“Te Deum Laudamus–We Praise You, O God” this day and always! Every life has value~life that begins in the womb at the moment of conception. Every life created by God. Millions of babies will have opportunity to live with the recent decision. Women will be preserved the inhumanity of abortion and its effects, including regret, grief and suffering. Fathers will be able to care for their children, at times forgotten or helpless against the mother’s will.

Jesus Christ our Lord was conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary~and paid the sacrifice for our sin~giving His life on the cross for forgiveness and life with Him forever.

The Church will continue to speak the truth in love and remains at the ready to serve and support those in need. We stand with a Word of Hope and Life. Walking alongside church and community pregnancy resource centers, providing care and compassion to families and mothers, promoting adoption opportunities, managing Breakfast with Baby and Swaddling Clothes gatherings, expanding Redeeming Life Maternity home support. Christians continuing to put love into action for all our neighbors.

Christ’s Church, including the LCMS-Northern Illinois District and its 200+ congregations speaks up for the sanctity of life. All human life is precious and sacred to God. In closing, I would like to share the hymn text (I spoke, didn’t sing it!):

“Now Thank We All Our God, with hearts and hands and voices Who wondrous things has done, in whom this world rejoices. Who from our mother’s arms {actually WOMB}, has blest us on our way With countless gifts of love and still is our today.”

What now?

Stay connected with LCMS Life Ministry for statements, prayers, and the like. Be sure to check it out  at Statement from LCMS Life Ministry on the ‘Dobbs v. Jackson’ ruling.

Download the Crossway Publishing offer of a FREE epdf (electronic pdf) version/upload of the book “The Case for Life” by Scott Klusendorf. Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture.

 



March for Life Chicago 2022 Brings to Light Life Support Ministries

We have never before seen such excitement for life ministry in the NID. Life ministry became an established ongoing mission of the LCMS Northern Illinois District in 2015 when the group was given the broad assignment of creating a pro-life climate within the NID. Educating people about life issues and providing opportunities to put faith into action is the dual focus. The Northern Illinois District Life Task Force connects the District’s church workers and congregations with educational and outreach opportunities promoting the sanctity of human life.

Read the full story at nidnews.org/march-for-life-chicago-2022-life-support-ministries



Life Ministry Million Dollar Life Match

The people of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) love children and families, and they demonstrate this love through many acts of mercy in their communities.

To support these local pro-life efforts — both big and small — the LCMS will offer $1 million in matching grants to LCMS congregations, starting in 2022. Visit their website at lcms.org/serve/grants/life-grant  for full information. Watch the video to hear more about this initiative from LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison.



Rev. Cory Estby to Serve as Triennial Chair of NID Life Task Force

With the guidance and recommendation of District staff with the task force members, a District Vice-President will serve as a triennial chair (the other three regional VP’s as advisory helpers) in rotation for the LCMS Northern Illinois District Life Task Force. Read more at nidnews.org/nid-life-task-force.



Looking to the future

Life ministry has become an established ongoing mission of the LCMS Northern Illinois District. Educating people about life issues and providing opportunities to put faith into action is the dual focus. Established in 2015 by District President Dan Gilbert, the group was given the broad assignment of creating a pro-life climate within the NID over a two-year period.

“We believe we have made strides in that arena,” said Deaconess Kristine Blackwell, who sits on the task force. “The 2017 March For Life Chicago featured several sizable groups of LCMS Lutherans, including a bus load of suburban church members that we transported from a meeting point at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lisle. We united under a ‘Love Affirms Life’ banner, with many of us wearing red Lutherans For Life ball caps.”

The Life Task Force utilized district communication vehicles (NID website nidlcms.org, NID Email Newsletter and the LCMS Northern Illinois District’s Facebook page) and appointed pastoral circuit life counselors to get the word out about each event.

“Our success over the initial two-year assignment has moved us to continue our efforts,” NID Life Task Force shared, “We’ll be educating pastors and their congregations about current topics, such as the dangerous trend by institutions to not allow health professionals to ‘conscientiously object’ and abstain from tasks that violate their Christian beliefs. We’ll be sharing helpful resources. And we’ll be issuing calls to action to LCMS members throughout the district.”

“Currently we are calling on Lutherans to support their local crisis pregnancy center,” they added. The following websites are offered for locating faith-based pregnancy resource centers by zip code:

The NID Life Task Force has formally accepted the following mission statement:

Affirming God’s Will to create and sustain mortal life in the anticipation of Life in Christ, The Northern Illinois District Life Task Force’s mission is to connect with church workers and their congregations by presenting unique educational and outreach opportunities about the reverence of life from conception though natural death.

For more information about opportunities for affirming life in your congregation, contact your circuit life counselor.