Social Ministry Committee

Chairperson: Pastor Robin Caldwell
Staff LiaisonRev. Dr. Denver Bitner

Our Mission/Purpose isto inspire and encourage the people of the congregations and communities of the Northern Illinois Synod to care for those in need, serve our neighbors, seek justice and righteousness for all people.

Our current goals are:

  1. To encourage love of neighbor by awarding grant money to congregations and organizations of the synod that serve their local neighbors in need.
  2. To educate and inspire members of the Northern Illinois Synod through workshops and forums presented at the Congregational Resourcing Event and the Synod Assembly.
  3. To oversee and support the work of the related subcommittees and task forces (see description, below).
  4. To promote advocacy for the most vulnerable in society at the state and national level. 
  5. To review and promote discussion of ELCA social statements and synod resolutions.


The ministry of the subcommittees:

  1. World Hunger encourages congregations to contribute to the ELCA World Hunger Appeal and educates people about world hunger issues at synod events.
  2. Racial Justice and Multicultural Ministries raises cultural awareness and provides forums in congregations to encourage healing conversation and to help equip leaders to recognize and eradicate institutional racism.
  3. Green Team representatives are available to provide energy audits on your church property to discover money- and energy-saving tips, as well as offer resources for potential grants from outside sources. 
  4. Creation Care Subcommittee mission is to increase awareness of the present planetary crises and to reconnect the faithful people of the church to the rich diversity of life on earth and our responsibility to revive and restore it.
  5. Advocacy maintains synod contact with Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, organizes the annual Lutheran Day in Springfield, and encourages support of services for our most vulnerable neighbors. 

Social Ministry Committee Membership:

Members of the Social Ministry Committee are either elected at the annual Synod Assembly, or appointed by Synod Council on staggered three year terms.

Members will be expected to: have a servant heart, prayerfully participate in three meetings per year, support or lead events at the Congregational Resourcing Event and Synod Assembly; study meeting materials to discuss social statements and resolutions, discern financial disbursements for grant awards, and support the work of the subcommittees.

Our commitments to members are: prayer, support and encouragement in their work serving their neighbor, providing connection among those who serve and those in need, offering grants to attend regional and churchwide social ministry events, and reimbursement for travel expenses to meetings.

Social Ministry Committee Grants:
Social Ministry Committee members typically meet in January, May, and September to review submitted grant applications, based upon availability. Budgets for grant money are approved at the synod assembly for the following fiscal year, which begins February 1. Find out more about synod grants and complete an application by clicking the Grant Application button, below.

Grant Application