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Local News

Unity Lutheran Church's Awake program gets grant for new director

BERWYN – The community organization, Awake, an affiliate mission community of Unity Lutheran Church in Berwyn, was awarded a $100,000 grant by the Metropolitan Chicago Synod of the Evangelical Church of America.

The grant was used to cover the cost of hiring a mission director to coordinate fundraising and programming for Awake, as well as to seek out partners in other community organizations.

Lisa Polderman of Berwyn was selected by Awake’s Leadership Team to take on the role of mission director. Polderman has volunteered for various community groups since moving to Berwyn six years ago, according to a news release.

Awakes mission is to help Berwyn develop as a community in justice, leadership and good relationships, according to the release. The group supports its mission through educational programming, community forums, service projects and partnerships with other local community organizations.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity to respond to the great gifts of our community and to invest in the people here,” Rev. Julie Boleyn, the pastor of Unity Lutheran Church of Berwyn, said in the release. “We are living out our understanding of what it means to be church: to share good news, to serve the community and do justice.”

Polderman has formerly served as Piper Elementary School’s PTA president, co-founded Berwyn Makers, started a Saturday morning running group and has volunteered for Awake, Berwyn Cares and WWIT.

Polderman was formally installed as Awake’s mission director at a church service Sunday.

“I am excited to take on this role,” Polderman said. “I moved to Berwyn six years ago because I fell in love with the character and diversity of the community. I look forward to working with other local organizations to help strengthen Berwyn as a community through reproducing leadership and investing in the great people who make Berwyn their home.”

Awake offers classes for children and adults in cooking, sewing, knitting, fitness and Spanish. Upcoming events include a forum on basement flooding, a Feed My Starving Children community service project and a Family Fun Dance. Awake is actively seeking proposals for classes and projects. Those interested in a class may register for a class or submit a proposal at www.berwynsawake.org.

Unity Lutheran Church of Berwyn is located at 6720 31st St. in Berwyn. Unity is a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Services are at 10:15 a.m. Sundays.

Unity welcomes persons of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, races, ethnic backgrounds and languages to participate in the ministry.

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