The Good News about prison ministry
from Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church and the churches of the Northern Conference C/SIS-ELCA

Spring/Summer 2009

Missionary to Prisons

Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
1534 S. Easton Ave.
Peoria, Illinois 61605

Pastor Steven Tibbetts

Missionary to Prisons
Karen Wong, AIM

Church Council President: Bill Noack

Support Team:
Louise Cheatham
Linda Ericcson
Lynn Goffinett
Rev. Ed Jones
Bill Noack
Pearl Resor
Pr. Steven Tibbetts
Karen Wong, AIM

Project Return Partnership Teams:

Six-Pak Team:
Phyllis Call
David Dietrich
Ricky Kingdon
Kendra Volentine
Lori Van Voorhis
Wanda Young

All R 1 Team:
Larry Fordham
Sarah Hartfield
Florence Jones
Brian King
Debbie King
Norma Millard

Thanks for Your Support!

Thank You to the people, churches and organizations who have so generously donated in the past year.

  • Advent Lutheran Church, Morton, IL
  • Advent Lutheran Mission Endowment
  • Kathy Bell
  • Bethel Lutheran Church, Bartonville, IL
  • Church Mouse Thrift Shop-LWGP
  • Judy Coiner
  • Community Foundation of Central Illinois
  • Faith Lutheran Church, Washington, IL
  • First English Lutheran Church, Peoria, IL
  • First English Foundation
  • Grace and Peace Lutheran Church
  • Grace and Peace Lutheran Church Women, Peo.
  • Helen Hamilton
  • Lester and Carol Happ
  • Susan Hughes
  • Immanuel Lutheran Flatville Endowment Fund
  • Immanuel Lutheran Church, Minonk, IL
  • Northern Conference C/SIS-ELCA-WELCA
  • Helen Polk
  • Salem Lutheran Church Women, Peoria, IL
  • Marilyn Setterlund
  • Social Ministry, Justice and Advocacy Grant-C/SIS
  • St. John's Lutheran Church, Bartonville, IL
  • St. John's Lutheran Church, Flanagan, IL
  • St. John's Hartsburg Legacy Fund
  • St. John's Lutheran Church, Toluca, IL
  • St. Paul Peoria Endowment Fund
  • St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Benson, IL
  • Thrivent-Greater Peoria Chapter
  • Thrivent-Tazewell County Chapter
  • Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, Peoria, IL

Project Return Commissions First Teams

    Photo at right
    Members of the All R 1 Team from left to right:
    Larry Fordham, Debbie King, Sarah Hartfield, Florence Johnson, Brian King and Norma Millard.

Photo at left
Members of the Six-Pak Team from left to right:
Dave Dietrich, Phyllis Call, Kendra Volentine, Wanda Young, Ricky Kingdon and Lori Van Voorhis.

Project Return commissioned its first two Volunteer Partnership Teams on December 6, 2009 at a worship service held at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, Peoria, Illinois, with Pastor Steven P. Tibbetts presiding. The two Partnership Team members include Phyllis Call, David Dietrich, Ricky Kingdon, Kendra Volentine, Lori Van Voorhis, Wanda Young, Larry Fordham, Sarah Hartfield, Florence Jones, Brian King, Debbie King, and Norma Millard.

Project Return's mission is to partner with incarcerated mothers to assist them in making a successful transition from prison to a new life in the community. The Partnership Teams will work with each mother for one year after her release to help her find food, clothing, housing, employment, transportation, healthcare and to set long-term goals regarding her family, finances and education. The teams are partners, allies and advocates in the journey back from prison. Each Partnership Team receives 30 hours of training in areas related to ministering with women who have been in prison and has ongoing support from Zion's Missionary to Prisons, Karen Wong, AIM.

Missionary Minute

"Peter came to Jesus and asked, 'Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?' Jesus answered, 'I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven'" Mt. 18:21-22

What do people find when they have been released from prison—have served their time—paid their debt? Open doors or closed hearts? The Hands and Feet of Christ in the form of the Christian Community or a lonely, empty road back to prison?

"Forgiveness is POWER. It breaks the curse of sin, it frees us from our past, it over-comes every evil. It could change the world, if only we would allow it to flow through us unchecked... We hold the keys to forgiveness in our hands, and we must choose whether or not to use them every day." Seventy Times Seven pg. 156

Let us choose to use our power to forgive, and welcome, and help build new lives in the Name of Christ who has forgiven us all.

Peace and Joy in Christ, Karen Wong

Isaiah 58:6-7 Is this not the kind of fasting I have chosen: To loose the chains of injustice, and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry, and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter, when you see the naked to clothe him and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

"Be Like Jesus"

On February 28, 2009, 20 third through sixth graders from area ELCA Lutheran Churches spent the afternoon at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church hearing about Project Return and Storybook Project as part of the annual "Be Like Jesus" Northern Conference Youth Servant Event. They also made 10 fleece blankets which will be given to Project Return Participants and their children. This is the second year "Be Like Jesus" has included Project Return as part of their event. Last year the youth created "Welcome Home Bags" with personal items for returning mothers.


We are now recruiting new Partnership Teams!
Contact us to apply


Volunteer - as Partnership Team member, on the Support Committee, or on a short-term project.

Invite - us to do a presentation to your congregation, organization or group about prison ministry and issues regarding women's prison re-entry.

Donate - contributions, large or small, from groups or individuals are always welcome.

PRAY! - With God all things are possible!

Yes, I'd like to help!

Project Return Main Page

Zion's Prison Mission Main Page


Zion's Home Page | Worship at Zion | Zion's Mission | Prayer & Devotions | About the Pastor | Study at Zion | Weddings

Map to Zion | Zion's Outreach Ministries | Prison Mission | Pastor Zip's Lutheran Links | Neighboring Congregations | Zion's History

If you have any questions or comments, please write.

Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
Prison Mission
1534 S. Easton Avenue
Peoria, IL 61605-3407
(309) 637-9150

Copyright © 2010 Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church of Peoria. All rights reserved.
Created -- 29 April 2010
Last Revised -- 2 October 2010