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Sandwich making at Fraternité Notre Dame is a quiet ministry

The food comes from many sources – day-old bread and deli trays from grocers, just-expired packages from meat processors, leftovers from parties, and food that just wasn’t pretty enough for the photo shoot.  It all comes to the basement of Fraternité Notre Dame at 502 N. Central Avenue in the Austin neighborhood.  

On the third Monday of every month, between 7:00 and 8:15pm, volunteers from Grace come to the Fraternité kitchen and make 300 sandwiches that the French-speaking nuns deliver to the homeless who can’t or won’t come to a food kitchen.  The team from Grace is but one of many who come to turn that extra food into individual servings for those who need them and live so close to us.  It’s only once a month for us, but the nuns make deliveries every day.  

BarbaraCarlson_and_DavidHeim_copy.jpegThere was one snowy night when only five volunteers from Grace came to make sandwiches.  The nuns said, “Do not fret. We will make do if you cannot finish.” 

"We knew that the temperature would be dropping the next day," says volunteer Kate Hogenson, "and that maybe a brown paper bag with two sandwiches and a granola bar would be the one meal of the day for many people.  We finished all 300 lunches – it took only an extra 30 minutes."

If you can help, contact Grace or talk with Kate Hogenson. She’ll answer questions or arrange a ride. Children and teens are welcome to come with their parents.

As she says (with apologies to Milton), "They also serve who only stand and spread mayonnaise."

On Sunday, Oct. 19, the Stewardship Committee invites you to "live generously" and support the work of these Grace members and the Sisters of Fraternité. Bring donations of granola or cereal bars or meal supplement bars to the atrium to be included in the lunches. Also, take some time in the atrium after both worship services to write a kind note of encouragement to be tucked inside lunch bags.


FaithPerspBlueLogo.jpgGrace Lutheran Church in River Forest hosts forum on violence against women

From the NFL to college campuses, violence against women has been in the headlines. Grace Lutheran Church’s Faith Perspectives program on Sunday, Nov. 9, will examine this issue from many angles. The forum, titled “Violence Against Women and Girls: Breaking the Silence,” begins at 2:00 p.m. in the congregation’s Fellowship Hall, 7300 Division in River Forest.

Victims of domestic abuse and rape have been in the shadows too long. When we bring the topic into the light and talk about it, we can begin to change the culture around violence. In the words of the Rev. Joy A. Schroeder, one of the speakers on the program, “For centuries women have been part of the discussion of theodicy, but their voices have not always been heard.”

Schroeder is on the faculty at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio. She is the author of “Dinah’s Lament: The Biblical Legacy of Sexual Violence in Christian Interpretation.” Her presentation will provide a framework for the other speakers, representatives of organizations that work with women and girls affected by sex trafficking, rape and domestic abuse.

Maria Woltjen, Director of the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights at the University of Chicago, will focus on the issue of immigrant children brought to this country and exploited by sex traffickers. Representatives from Rape Victim Advocates will talk about their work with rape victims as well as with education and prevention. Colleen Sutkus of Sarah’s Inn, a local agency that works with victims of domestic abuse, will focus on this issue. Grace Lutheran Church’s Parish Nurse, Kim Ramos, will be the moderator.

The program is free and open to everyone. It’s an important discussion—and not for women only. All of us have a part to play in breaking the silence around these difficult issues.

Grace Lutheran Church and School in River Forest, Illinois, sponsors Faith Perspectives forums to provide an opportunity for people of faith to come together, listen, learn and explore thoughts and feelings about social and moral issues.