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

Spring/Summer 2010

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: Becky Zentko

Project Return Partnership Team Volunteers:

Phyllis Call
David Dietrich
Ricky Kingdon
Kendra Volentine
Lori Van Voorhis
Wanda Young

Larry Fordham
Sarah Hartfield
Florence Jones
Brian King
Debbie King
Norma Millard

Iesha Cobbs
Nancy Claude
Kathy Schwindenhammer

Jamie Blackorby
Karin Gurdian
Jolynn Lottman
Bill Noack
Paula Peterson

Thanks for Your Support!!!!!
Thank You to all who have generously given in the past year!

  • Advent Lutheran Church, Morton, IL
  • Advent Lutheran Mission Endowment
  • Bethel Lutheran Church, Bartonville, IL
  • Dave and Roberta Dietrich
  • Faith Lutheran Church, Washington, IL
  • First English Lutheran Church, Peoria, IL
  • First English Foundation, Peoria, IL
  • J. Bradley Essig, DDS
  • Grace and Peace Lutheran Church, Peoria, IL
  • Grace and Peace Endowment Fund, Peoria, IL
  • Helen Hamilton
  • Immanuel Lutheran Church, Flatville
  • Immanuel Lutheran Church, Minonk, IL
  • Dave and Linda Kerler
  • Ricky Kingdon
  • Ron and Norma Millard
  • Northern Conference C/SIS-ELCA
  • Salem Lutheran Church Women, Peoria, IL
  • San Damiano Outreach Fund, Springfield, IL
  • Social Ministry, Justice and Advocacy Grant-C/SIS, ELCA
  • St. John's Lutheran Church, Hartsburg, IL
  • St. John's Hartsburg Legacy Fund, Hartsburg, IL
  • St. Mark's Lutheran Church, Washington, IL
  • St. Mark's Lutheran Young Parents Group, Washington, IL
  • St. Paul Lutheran Church Endowment Fund, Peoria, IL
  • Thrivent Financial-Greater Peoria Chapter
  • Thrivent Financial-Tazewell County Chapter
  • Kendra Volentine
  • Women of the ELCA
  • Becky Zentko
  • Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, Peoria, IL

Project Return Graduates First Participants

          Photo at right:
          Project Return graduate Wanda Young at her surprise
          birthday party given by her Partnership Team

Photo at left:
Project Return graduate Sarah Hartfield
at the Project Return Christmas Potluck.

Project Return's first two Participants have successfully completed their Partnership Year. Sarah Hartfield and Wanda Young met regularly with their teams to overcome the challenges of returning from prison. During her final interview Sarah shouted, "I can't believe I made it! I never thought I could do it!" Sarah is living with her oldest daughter, enjoying her grandchildren and hoping to find a regular job. Wanda, mother of seven, will soon graduate from cosmetology school and is looking forward to working at a salon. They both wish to thank their Partnership Team Volunteers for all of their time and support. The road back into the community would have been a lot harder without all of them.

Our newest Partnership Team will be commissioned at Zion's Ascension Service on Thursday, May, 13, 2010, at 7:00 pm. Reception will follow. No RSVP necessary.


Project Return New Life
Easter Party

On a cold Saturday in March, 37 adults and kids celebrated Easter at the Project Return New Life Easter Party. With a lot of help from volunteers from St. Mark's Lutheran Church, Washington. Project Return children learned about retired racing greyhounds, made crafts, hunted eggs, heard the Easter Story told by Zion's Pastor Steven Tibbetts, ate snacks and finished off the day by playing games together.

Volunteers from St. Mark Lutheran Church, Washington
bring joy to the Project Return New Life Easter Party.

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?

Sing Praises for Project Return

Photo: Rori Campbell, former Federal inmate, on the left,
speaking at Sing Praises for Project Return fundraiser
sponsored by Advent Lutheran Church, Morton, IL.

On September 29, 2009 Advent Lutheran Church, Morton, sponsored "Sing Praises for Project Return" fundraiser. A potluck meal featuring BBQ pork and chicken was served. During the meal people could bid on Silent Auction items donated by area churches and individuals. The meal was followed by music from Advent's praise band and then Rori Campbell, who was a Federal inmate for over nine years, spoke on "Inside-Out, A Spiritual Journey"—her road back to new life in the community. Over 100 people attended. A free-will offering, Silent Auction proceeds, matching funds from Thrivent Financial of Tazewell County and generous donation from Advent Lutheran Church totaled $5000. Special thanks go to Lynn Goffinet and Linda Showers for all their hard work. Thanks to all who participated.


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

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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 -- 1 May 2010
Last Revised -- 2 October 2010