Fr. James Cardone, past rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 412 N. Church St., will preach Sunday, Nov. 13 at 9 a.m., followed by a brunch and reception. Fr. Cardone is being honored as the founder of the churchs outreach agency, Shelter Care Ministries, which began more than 20 years ago.
Fr. Cardone was a new rector in 1982 and was concerned by all the homeless he saw in doorways and around the downtown area, including the front door of the church. Thanks to his vision and lots of volunteers, a Saturday night soup kitchen was begun. Two members made homemade bread each week for the soup kitchen. Parishioners talked with people to find out their needs and began putting them up overnight in single room hotels; as more people with children began coming to the church, overnight lodging expanded to families.
Emmanuels recreational center was under-used during the day and was approached by the Mayors Task Force on the Homeless to use it as a drop-in center for the mentally ill. At that time, many of the homeless suffered with mental illness and had no place to go.
Fr. Cardone was responsible for Shelter Care Ministries being designated an Episcopal Charity of Chicago and as a Jubilee Ministry by the National Church, thereby securing much-needed funding.
Fr. Cardone left in 1990 to take a position as rector in upstate New York, but his legacy with the homeless and mentally ill of Rockford lives on at Emmanuel and Shelter Care Ministries.
People will be on hand to tell their stories of the early days of the outreach ministry.
Everyone is welcome to both the church service and reception.
From the Nov. 9-15, 2005, issue