The history of outreach at Church of Our Saviour extends far beyond the borders of Chicago. Below are some of the broader outreach programs COS is involved in. Please complete the Volunteer Form to get involved or contact the office with any questions.
“Be,” “Know,” “Do” are three important concepts at Church of Our Saviour. It is vital to our common life that we ‘be’ people who pray, who study Scripture, and both corporately and individually reside in the Christian life. It is important that we ‘know’ each other, because to make Christian community and to faithfully love one another we must know our fellow community members (and be known by them). But to really live out our Christian commitment, we must ‘do.’
ASP (A SERVICE PROJECT) YOUTH GROUP TRIP
For over two decades, the senior high youth group and adult sponsors have traveled to areas experiencing severe poverty in Appalachia and, since Hurricane Katrina, severe destruction in the Gulf Coast. This service trip is a hybrid – combining days spent doing home repair and nights spent doing retreat activities. The youth are divided into work teams, each with at least one adult sponsor, and tackle things as varied as replacing a rotted floor or adding needed insulation to a home. (Sometimes while trying to avoid angry insects!) Every spring, the members and friends of Church of Our Saviour look forward to the “ASP Dinner”, the high school youth’s fundraiser for the summer trip, and an opportunity for the entire congregation to hear stories of the past summer’s trip, enjoy a beautiful meal and live music, and participate in live and silent auctions which help raise funds for the upcoming trip.
Among the important outreach activities in our parish is participation in an informal coalition with members of several Chicago parishes working together as the "Chiapas Project" in the Chicago Diocese Companionship relationship with the Diocese of Southeast Mexico. This coalition includes three parishioners in Chicago: St. Chrysostom's, Church of Our Savior, and Church of the Atonement and Holy Comforter (Kenilworth). Since being charged in 2010 by Bishop Benito with the support of his diocese missions in Chiapas, members of the Chiapas Project have made annual visits to two missions in Chiapas: St. Benito de Nursia in St. Cristobal, and St. Marcos at Yochib in the Mayan highlands, as well as occasional visits to two children's homes: the Hogar Infantil in Ocozocoactia and the Mision Mexico in Tapachula. The Project has staged three major fundraisers in 2010, 2012 and 2016, and in 2013 began selling Chiapan textiles at diocese venues; these resources have helped purchase the site for the church in Yochib, provide student scholarships, deliver on-going weekly English and health-care classes there, provided donations to the children's homes, and responded to the Bishop's appeal for contributions to priest's salaries. The Project works closely with part-time residents of San Cristobal: Louanna Furbee and Bob Benfer from Calvary Episcopal Church in Columbia, Mo., and with Padre Florencio Gonzalez Onorio and his wife Hermalinda, and Deacon Charles Parker. Currently (2016) The Rev. George Hull (Holy Comforter) and Sena Leikvoldt from COS are heading up the Chiapas Project.
Church of Our Savior has been represented since 2011 in the worship services in San Cristobal and Yochib, led by Sena Leikvold and Charles Stewart who first traveled there with a group from St. Chrysostom's. In 2012 a large COS group traveled to Chiapas: Brian Hastings and Roger Gumm, Bob and Molly Stine, Kathy Hart, Luanne Gavin, Bob and Sharon Barton, Mark Bean and Nancy Paradiso, Jackie Coombs-Nelson (St. Mary's, Park Ridge) and her cousin Fran Gamboa from Mexico City, joined Sena and Charles. They presented Padre Florencio with a baptismal candle for his congregations and individual candles decorated by COS children for the families of kids baptized in those communities. In 2013 Sena and Charles were joined by Sharon and Bob Barton again, Charlcey and Jim Hawk, and Emma Peterson from COS and Bishop Benito along with Jackie Coombs-Nelson and her daughter Petra with Fran Gamboa. In addition to the two missions they visited the Hogar Infantil children's home. In 2014 the Hawks returned as did Roger and Brian, Fran Gambota and Jess Elfing and Martha Willis; in addition, Sena and Charles were able to visit the children's home in Tapachula, Mision Mexico with George Hull and John and Judy Bross. 2015 saw COS visitors Bob and Molly Stine, Brian and Roger, Linda and Tony Packard, Jess and Mary Elfing, Fran Gamboa, Sena and Charles. Last year Charles and Sena were joined by Carol Blendowski, Margaret Sullivan and Chuck Elliot (Atonement), Fran Gamboa, and Louanna and Bob Furbee (Calvary, Columbia MO.) Each year since 2013 the communities of Yochib and San Cristobal have also been visited by groups led by John and Judy Bross from St. Chrysostom’s, and parishioners at all of the Chiapas Project parishes are open to join either group. In 2017 the Brosses will host a group January 27-30, and Sena and Charles will host groups March 9-12 and March 16-19.
Our “Mission of Presence”in the Chiapas communities has taught us new meanings of "mission" in which our presence and our worship with our fellow Anglicans has been mutually enriching. Parishioners in Chiapas remark on the meaning they derive from our repeated visits: "Your coming back makes you part of us and that gives us strength." "Coming from such a distance to worship with is, we see as an affirmation of God's presence in our midst." Currently, COS is a major supporter of weekly health delivery classes in Yochib conducted by Carlos Garcia Ballinas who is also increasingly becoming something of a community organizer in Yochib