Lutheran Day 2008 Scrapbook

On April 16, nearly 200 Lutherans and other people of good will participated in the fifth annual Lutheran Day in Springfield, which is held annually to advocate for people in need. This year, the focus was to call legislators’ attention to a growing crisis in social services funding. Participants met with individual legislators to educate them about the problem and to ask for adequate and timely reimbursements.

The highlights of the day included a morning educational session at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Springfield, which included inspirational presentations from staff and clients from participating agencies. In addition, Dan Schwick, director of Lutheran Advocacy-Illinois, spoke about human services funding in Illinois, and Jennifer DeLeon, associate director of government relations at Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI), delivered a rousing presentation on how to effectively interact with legislators and present issues to them.

“Every year, the Lutheran Day planning team takes a hard look at the evaluations we get from Lutheran Day participants,” says Dan Schwick, reflecting on the day’s success. “There was so much enthusiasm this year because so many participants got to meet with their legislators. That’s the whole point of the day, so when that happens, we’ve had success!”

The day also included the presentation of the annual Paul Simon Courage in Public Service Award to State Representative Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago). Like the late Senator Simon, throughout her career, Rep. Currie has been an advocate for her community and low-income parents and children.

In addition, four state lawmakers were named Legislative Champions for Social Services for their leadership, hard work and dedication in representing their constituents and advocating on behalf of the state’s most vulnerable residents. They are: Rep. Rosemary Mulligan (R-Park Ridge), Rep. Naomi Jakobsson (D-Champaign), Sen. Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) and Sen. Christine Radogno (R-Lemont).

Lutheran Day sponsoring organizations included: LSSI; Lutheran Child and Family Services (LCFS); Bethel New Life; Lutheran Life Communities; Advocate Health Care; Lutheran Senior Services; Mosaic; Bethesda Lutheran Homes and Services; Concordia Avondale Campus; Saint Luke Ministries; and Zion Development Corporation. Lutheran Advocacy-Illinois, a grassroots justice advocacy organization, also sponsored Lutheran Day.

All photos by: Kristen Schmid