January 6, 2014
Views from church on December 22 with ice reflecting in the trees.
December 7, 2013
Excerpt from Latest Newsletter
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,
In the December 2018 and January 2019 issues of the newsletter, we featured the district's mission initiatives in prison ministry and Unity Lutheran School. This month, I wanted to call your attention to the Freed in Christ Mission initiative.
Freed in Christ is a Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod congregation-based prisoner re-entry program to help bring nonviolent offenders back into the community following incarceration or in lieu of imprisonment. This program is designed to embrace and teach each participant about Christ’s love for them through the hearing of God’s Word and the love of His people.
We want to invite ex-offenders and their families into one of our local Southern Illinois District churches where they can join us for weekly worship and pastor-led Bible studies. We also want to provide each non-violent offender with a volunteer support group. This group will lead the participant in a weekly Bible study, familiarize him with worship and church activities, and make known available resources to aid in a successful transition. Resources would include local food pantries, second hand clothing stores, educational opportunities, employers and employment agencies known for hiring ex-offenders, etc. Additionally, this group will seek to befriend, encourage, pray with, listen to, and guide the participant as together they grow in the Lord.
Our church body is also working with case managers from Lutheran Child & Family Services of Illinois to develop an overall plan to meet many of the ex-offender’s re-entry needs. This may include counseling, re-integration with family, making referrals for any substance abuse difficulties, and any other support programs that will assist in enabling successful community life during the re-entry process. We hope to identify and add other resources as needed.
With the help of God, we believe we can lower the recidivism rate by teaching right thinking and responsible behavior, holding participants accountable for their words, actions and attitudes, role modeling healthy relationships and behaviors, providing practical resources, and bringing God’s words of hope and healing to one soul at a time.
In His grace,