150 Year Anniversary
Beginning 150 years ago with six young children who needed a home all the way up until today when we are caring for thousands of children and families each year, Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois has been committed to helping all of God’s children reach their full potential.
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The agency now known as Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois traces its beginning back to the founding of the German Evangelical Lutheran Orphan Home Association of Northern Illinois at Concordia Teachers Seminary, then located in Addison, on June 27, 1873.
In 1872, the German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and other states was observing its 25th anniversary at its convention in St. Louis, Missouri. In one of the floor committees, a speaker suggested that it would be a good idea to have an orphan home next to the teachers seminary at Addison, Illinois, so that children from the orphan home could constitute a demonstration school for practice teaching of the seminary students. A reporter from the local newspaper misunderstood the remark and wrote that the Synod had decided to begin such an institution. The report went on the news wire and was widely printed. Addison people laughed at the false report.
Several months later, the Addison church, now known as Zion Lutheran Church in Bensenville, received a check for $24.25 for the Addison orphanage. This was followed by other similar gifts. The Lutheran Christians in northern Illinois soon concluded that the Lord was giving them a very strong hint that it was His will that an orphanage home be started in Addison. The thirteen congregations in the northern Illinois conference were asked to consider the matter. In May, 1873, at a meeting of the Western District, the northern Illinois delegates held a special meeting, and urged the organization of an orphan home. The next month, the other congregations in the area also supported the idea.
Meanwhile, Pastor A.G.G. Francke and Mr. Friederich Leeseberg had the opportunity to buy 54 acres to the west of the teachers seminary and sell 15 acres to the seminary. The next cost of the 39 acres to be used for the orphan home was $4, 425.
All of this activity led quickly to a meeting of congregational representatives at the teachers seminary on June 27, 1873, and the organization of the orphan home association. Pastor Francke was chose as President and Mr. Leeseberg was elected a trustee. The actual legal incorporation is dated August 13, 1873.
Opening its doors that year to six young children, the orphan home grew quickly and expanded its services over the years eventually merging with other similar agencies. In 1970, the organization officially changed its name to Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois.