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by Keith Forni, member of the board of Lutheran CORE

This program, for adults with special needs and sponsored by St. Timothy Lutheran Church, has been serving Chicago’s Hermosa neighborhood for nearly 30 years. Meeting monthly since 1990, the Uncle Charlie program serves an average of 50 residents from eight group homes on the northwest side of Chicago. Participants gather for Bingo, arts and crafts, Bible lessons, worship and lunch.

Here Uncle Charlie Program members lead music during morning devotions. Pastor Keith Forni notes that “their joy is so powerfully expressed.” Favorite choir songs are “This Little Light of Mine” and “Jesus Loves Me.” St. Timothy is an ELCA congregation affiliated with Lutheran CORE.

Uncle Charlie Program participants await lunch at St. Timothy Lutheran Church, Chicago, during a recent Saturday monthly gathering.




Paul Diaz, a mission partner volunteer from First and Santa Cruz Lutheran Church- ELCA, Joliet IL, displays the May 2019 theme at the Uncle Charlie Program, St. Timothy Lutheran Church, Chicago.




Lutheran CORE wants to lift up the ministries of other orthodox ELCA congregations that are faithfully living out the Gospel and serving our Lord. Please contact us at

Join the discussion One Comment

  • carl mckenzie says:

    Keith, I just read with great interest the program going on for decades at St. Timothy’s Church, Chicago! You have been in ministry for a number of years and stayed faithful to your calling in the urban context of the city. As the years roll by and I reflect on the presence of the church in the changing environment we all live – culturally – how vital it is to hear of congregations continuing to live the gospel by witnessing to and with persons with special needs. FYI, our son, Timothy, has begun his ministry at St. Mark Church, Charlotte. As always, it is a challenge to be “up and running” every day with the ministry needs in the parish, etc. He told me when he was the interim at St. Paul’s Evanston, that he saw you and you sent greetings to me. I appreciate that and pray God’s blessing upon you, your family and congregation as you continue the task of being a parish pastor. Blessings on your day! In Christ, Carl McKenzie