Loving and Serving Local Families
Our Savior Lutheran Church in Carol Stream, Ill., serves families in the community through its monthly Breakfast with Baby event.
Before the dew had evaporated on a Saturday morning in May, mothers and their young children were already arriving at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Carol Stream, Ill., outside of Chicago.
Families gathered for the monthly Breakfast with Baby event, an outreach ministry that the church started in October 2019. Despite the pandemic, over 70 families continue to attend.
“We want the whole community to know that Christ has invited them into our home and His home. They are a part of our family and we’re here to take care of them as best we can and not only in Word and Sacrament, but also in physical needs,” said the Rev. Tom Sanders, vacancy pastor at Our Savior.
Inside the church’s gymnasium, tables and racks displayed available children’s clothing, while an area of strollers and toys under a large cross attracted children to one end of the room. Guests waited at the door to register near a sign that read: “God loves you! And so do we!”
Lauren Thomas, a wheelchair-bound mother of two with one more on the way, let daughter Viola ride on her lap with a bag of clothing while son Gideon walked behind, carrying another bag of items. Thomas, who has visited several times, said she’s thankful for the help from the church.
“Breakfast with Baby is a service we’re providing for people who are in need,” said Dawn Janke, one of the coordinators of the event. “We don’t question what that need is. We just know that if they’re coming, they are in need of something.”
Deaconess Dr. Tiffany Manor, director of LCMS Life Ministry, was visiting Our Savior that day to learn more about the ministry. She quickly donned an apron and helped at the clothing racks, where she struck up a conversation with a mother who said she was warned that her unborn son would face extreme health and physical challenges, including the possibility of missing limbs. But the mother chose life over abortion, and as the son overcomes developmental delays, she said his life brings her great joy.
Our Savior was recently awarded a grant 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.
“It was a blessing to join in the efforts alongside congregation members and community volunteers,” said Manor. “We provided much-needed infant clothing, food, diapers and equipment. Most importantly, we prayed and shared the love of Christ with the families who came to Breakfast with Baby. … I hope that other LCMS congregations consider opening their church buildings to hold Breakfast with Baby events to serve their neighbors and share with them the mercy that God has poured out on us through the death and resurrection of His Son.”
Near the exit, volunteers handed out bagged meals and fulfilled requests for diapers. Here, guests also could leave a prayer request in a box, which was filled by the end of the event.
Ginny Milas, a volunteer at the event and an ardent pro-life supporter, said the outreach is “fulfilling what our whole ministry is about: to help and support women to save the unborn.”
1 John 3 Initiative Million Dollar Life Match
Our Savior Lutheran Church, Carol Stream, Ill., was one of 37 LCMS congregations to receive a grant to help provide beginning-of-life care to the community through The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s 1 John 3 Initiative Million Dollar Life Match. The program offers a total of $1 million in matching grants, which will be awarded during three phases. Applications for the third phase will be accepted Nov. 1, 2022, through Jan. 22, 2023, and all LCMS congregations are encouraged to apply. Learn more about the program and the application process.
Erik M. Lunsford
Managing photojournalist for LCMS Communications.