Community Outreach


You are invited to join your friends at Gloria Dei in a variety of lifelong learning opportunities:



Word for the Week Bible Study 

This group gathers on Wednesday evenings from 6:30-7:30 PM to study and discuss the scripture readings for the upcoming weekend worship services, and how the readings relate to their lives.  Some of the upcoming topics will include the golden calf, letters to Timothy and the comfort of being "found" by God in the Gospel of Luke. This group tends to have people with a variety of backgrounds and interests.  Contact Pastor Kral for more information. 

Thursday afternoon discussion group

Join us on Thursdays at 1pm. The focus changes throughout the year through a variety of faith discussion topics. Contact Denise Marnen-Jirka for more information.

60 Minute Book Group

The 60 minute Book Group meets monthly on the third Monday for one hour at 12:15pm in the church library.  All are welcome to share titles and discussion on fiction, non-fiction and Gloria Dei library selections.  Come as you are and bring a sack lunch if you like.

WELCA Service Ministries

Altar Guild: Teams take monthly turns to care for the seasonal changing of the paraments and set-up for communion.

Caring Cards Ministry: Cards are addressed and sent to the homebound, those in need of health and healing, those celebrating milestone wedding anniversaries, those celebrating milestone birthdays, those celebrating the first anniversary of their baptism and those celebrating their first wedding anniversary. These women meet during the day on the first Wednesday of the month.

Christian Action Projects: Organized through the four Circles, a monthly project is chosen to support the needs of a community organization.

Funeral Reception Committee: Members of this committee provide a lunch or reception, upon request, following funerals or memorial services.

Knit 1 Purl 2: Participants meet for fellowship while knitting or crocheting prayer shawls and other items for the homebound and hospitalized. They meet in the church lounge at 9:00 AM on the 1st Tuesday of the month.

Labor of Love: Quilts for Lutheran World Relief are assembled in the Fellowship Hall on the 3rd Tuesday of the month.


Based in Glen Ellyn, a western suburb of Chicago, Bridge Communities, offers transitional housing and support services to homeless families that live and work in DuPage County.  Founded in 1988 by community volunteers Mark Milligan and Bob Wahlgren, Bridge has grown to include nearly 100 units of transitional housing and 18 shared-equity home ownership condominium units.

As a non-profit organization, Bridge Communities mission is to:

·         Inspire and affect change by advocating for homeless families

·         Provides services and opportunities that connect families to a better future

·         Collaborate with faith based partners, community action groups and businesses to leverage resources and create long term solutions

          Lead by example through innovative programs and grass-root involvement


How does Gloria Dei Lutheran Church support and work with Bridge Communities?

Gloria Dei has been working with Bridge Communities since 2003 and provides financial assistance for two transitional housing units managed by Bridge Communities. The housing cost for each unit per month is approx. $900. This cost is NOT included in the Gloria Dei line item budget and funds have to be raised separately to support the program. 

In addition Gloria Dei provides one mentor team (two –three mentors per team) for each of the two clients housed in the units. The mentors work with the Bridge client to help them focus on life skills such as financial management (managing money and expenses), household organization, and using other resources to prepare a strong foundation for moving into self sufficiency at the end of the two year program.

To help support the Bridges Program at Gloria Dei in any way please contact either the Pastors or Kim Maschoff via the church office – 630 968 6231.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is transitional housing?

Transitional housing provides apartments, supportive service and a stable environment to homeless families who are working to improve or develop the skills necessary to live independently. This is typically defined by a two-year time period. Bridge Communities works with local faith-based and community action groups that provide mentors and essential financial support. Bridge provides professional case management, education tutoring, career counseling and coaching and donated automobiles.

Who does Bridge Communities serve?

Bridge Communities serves extremely low, low and moderate income families in du Page County who have become homeless due to reasons such as divorce, domestic violence, loss of employment, and health issues.

Bridge Communities is not appropriate for homeless families that have an extensive history or current substance abuse problem, criminal history or chronic disability.

How long has Bridge Communities been around?

The concept of transitional housing for homeless families in DuPage County began in 1988 when two community volunteers, Bob Wahlgren and Mark Milligan, were motivated to create a better solution to aid homeless families and children.  Bridge Communities has expanded its services to include: career counseling, education tutoring for adults and children, financial management skills, life-skills mentoring and auto donation.

What does the Bridge Communities operational budget look like?

On average 86% of the operational budget is spent on direct program services for approx. 109 families, including 110 adults and 147 children. Administrative costs were 5% with the remaining spent on fundraising costs.

What is the meaning of an "invisible" homeless person?

For many Americans, the word "homeless" evokes a mental image of a single male with some type of substance abuse or mental health problem loitering in a public place. This is the image of the visible homeless. In reality, the picture of homelessness in America today is a family portrait. Bridge Communities serves the homeless family - the "invisible" homeless. Typically this is a single parent with kids in school that are bouncing from home-to-home of family and friends.

Two trends largely responsible for the rise in family homelessness over the past several years are:

·         A growing shortage of affordable rental housing

·         A simultaneous increase in poverty

What is the process families go through before they are accepted into the Bridge Communities Transitional Housing Program?

When families come to Bridge Communities, they are carefully screened and once found eligible, connected with a faith-based or community-based Program Partner. After that point, families are provided with safe affordable housing, life-skills mentors, career counseling and coaching, reliable transportation, tutoring for adults and children, and case management.

What is the key to a family's success in the Bridge Communities Transitional Housing Program?

Bridge Communities is an organization about change. Each person involved in the Transitional Housing Program will experience change. The client family must have the desire and be willing to work hard to create long-term change that will give them the skills to be financially independent which will allow for stable housing and a brighter future for their family.  Volunteer mentors, such as those from Gloria Dei, are at the heart of the Bridge Communities Transitional Housing Program.  Mentors will experience a change in their own views on poverty and family homelessness. Every party must have an open heart and a willingness to work hard.

Statistics on Homelessness in DuPage County

Average age of a homeless person in DuPage County: 8 years old

Child poverty rate in DuPage County (1): 11%

DuPage County residents who live in poverty (1): 71,040 residents, or 7.8% of DuPage County residents

DuPage County residents who live in extreme poverty (2): 28,384 residents, or 3.1% of DuPage County residents

Fair market monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment in DuPage County (3): $958

Number of hours needed to work, per week, at minimum age to afford rent (3): 89 hours

Unemployment rate in DuPage County as of Nov 2013 (4): 6.5%, or 34,372 DuPage County residents


1 The U.S. Census Bureau's 2010 and 2011 Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates,

2 2011 American Community Services Survey,

3 National Low Income Housing Coalition, Out of Reach 2012,

4 Illinois Department of Employment Security's Local Area Unemployment Statistics





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