The Bethlehem Lutheran Church Women will host their annual salad supper at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 4. in the church fellowship hall.
This year’s featured speaker is Betty Stralow of Morrison, who has served as coordinator of a prison ministry program at Dixon Correctional Center for the past 13 years.
Members of the Northern Illinois Synod Women of the ELCA (WELCA) began monthly visits with incarcerated women at the center in 1991. In 2000, when women were no longer held at the Dixon facility, the prison administration asked that the visits continue with a group of men resulting in the “Monday Ministry.” Stralow organizes groups of volunteers from congregations throughout northern Illinois who visit the correctional center on the second and fourth Mondays of each month. Volunteers present a program of devotions with Bible stories, songs and scripture.
In addition, “Storybook,” launched in 2001, meets on the third Monday afternoon of each month. Volunteers help the men read and record one of a variety of the donated books, and then the book and CD are sent home to their children.
“Prison ministry is in direct response to Jesus’ directive in Matthew, Chapter 25, to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, visit the sick and those in prison,” says Stralow. She is eager to share her enthusiasm and explain more about what these visits and programs mean to both the volunteers and the inmates.
The Rev. Gary Erickson, pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in DeKalb, welcomes the opportunity to host Stralow at this annual event.
“The congregation at Bethlehem actively seeks to support our community in as many ways as possible. Having Betty Stralow with us to speak about the prison ministry is one way we can share vital and important information with our neighbors,” he said in a news release.
Stralow is a member of Bethesda Lutheran Church in Morrison where she serves as president of the local Women of the ELCA, chairs the Social Action/Evangelism Committee and sings in the choir. She also has been active in the Northern Illinois Synod WELCA and is completing her second term as Central Conference representative.
There is no charge for the salad supper and presentation.The meal is a salad potluck and guests are asked to bring a dish to share (one dish per three to four guests); beverage, dessert and table service will be provided. The supper is a women’s event; men are welcome to attend the presentation which will follow at approximately 7:30 p.m. To help in planning, guests are asked to contact the church office by Aug. 30, to indicate their attendance. Call 815-758-3203.
Bethlehem is located at 1915 N. First St. in DeKalb. Sunday worship takes place at 9:30 a.m. during the summer. Services are held at 8:45 and 11 a.m. from September through May.