Luther Memorial Church, Chicago.
Executive secretary, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, retired

I am a member of Luther Memorial Church, Chicago. I started attending services in 1957 when I and my roommates moved into an apartment nearby.

I began serving as a Sunday school teacher at Luther Memorial in 1963, became a charter member of our [women’s organization] in 1963 (and later on as secretary and then president), served as vacation Bible school superintendent in 1964, was employed as the church secretary from 1967 to 1975, was a member of the church property committee and served on the church council in the late 1970s, served as Sunday school superintendent in the early 1980s, and continue counting offerings one Sunday per month and for special holiday services. It’s important to me to give back in whatever ways possible.

I feel warmth, friendship and caring from my fellow church members. As a single parent with two preschoolers back in 1963, I received a great deal of support then. And I continue to be in the prayers of many who now support me during my chemo treatments for lymphoma. (I was diagnosed this past July.)

I joined Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) in 1975 as executive secretary in the office of the president, where I served the CEO and was the liaison to the board of directors and the company lawyer. Forty years later I retired from those duties.

In my role at LSSI, I found great joy in meeting new people, knowing that indirectly I was serving the many thousands of LSSI’s clients through the agency’s multiple ministries. And I enjoyed arranging and attending board meetings, with occasional field trips to locations around the state.

In my vocation, I learned to be flexible, to anticipate needs and problems, that decisions and resolutions are not always set in concrete, to listen and to empathize with others’ problems.

“What gives me hope is knowing that God is here with us and helps us be the hands and feet to work for good.”

In my free time, I am a member of the Women’s Network of LSSI—as volunteers, we do fundraising through special events and help support foster care and adoption services; serve as a volunteer for a food pantry; attend theatrical, operatic and ballet performances; “mother” two indoor cats and fill bird feeders daily; watch mostly PBS TV programs; work crossword puzzles; and read (some history but mostly favorite mystery novelists)—not necessarily in that order.

I pray for peace; for care of the homeless; for the emotional, spiritual and bodily needs of refugees; for those in war-torn countries; and for places where drought, fire, floods, earthquakes and huge storms put people in crisis.

What gives me hope is knowing that God is here with us and helps us be the hands and feet to work for good. And knowing that Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and Lutheran World Relief are at work around the world on our behalf.

To me, grace is knowing that I am accepted by God just the way I am and that he provides for my every need.

I’m a Lutheran because I was baptized and confirmed as a young adult in a Lutheran church after I felt accepted, liked the liturgy, was impressed with the church’s advocacy and service to those in need, and especially liked hearing that “we are saved by grace alone.”

If you’d like to nominate someone for “I’m a Lutheran,” email

John Potter
John G. Potter is content editor of Living Lutheran. He lives in St. Paul, Minn.

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