1/28/2016 11:00:00 AM

CHICAGO (ELCA) – Members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) offer prayers to those impacted by program and staff reductions at Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI). On Jan. 22 the nonprofit social service agency of the three ELCA Illinois synods announced the cuts due to the state’s inability to pass a budget for the past seven months.

“Our hearts go out to those who lost their jobs and those they serve,” said the Rev. Stephen Bouman, executive director, ELCA congregational and synodical mission. “They also go out to those who make hard decisions and try to keep serving with the remaining programs with excellence and compassion. I urge this church to pray for everyone affected.”

Bouman noted that the ELCA’s infrastructure of social service organizations and institutions serving vulnerable people begins to erode when “public servants can’t even keep going the commitments that they have made to the most vulnerable.”

After a process of “evaluation, planning, praying and listening” the board of LSSI, which includes the three ELCA Illinois bishops, announced the reductions. Thirty programs and more than 750 staff positions are being eliminated, ending LSSI support to approximately 4,700 Illinois residents.

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