Month: November 2011

  • Remembering Glen Kehrein


    From time to time I want to introduce and share the bio pieces of various brothers and sisters in the faith community. All too often we don't know, or fully appreciate, our brethren in The LORD.

    The remarks that follow below are from Dr. Wayne Gordon, a beloved brother who deserves mention in his own right for his work and service in the Body of Messiah. Dr. Gordon is the founding Pastor of Lawndale Community Church in Chicago. He is also the Chairman/President of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA).


    Our hearts are saddened by the loss of our friend

    Glen Kehrein




    Executive Director of Circle Urban Ministries located in the Austin Community of Chicago, Il. and CCDA Founding Board Member.




    Fond memories of my friend Glen…

    I first met Glen Kehrein in the summer of 1975. He and Lonni were already well on their way to establishing Circle Urban Ministry, which has become a remarkable example of Christian Community Development. I was just getting ready to move to the Westside of Chicago to teach and coach at Farragut High School. I remember the conversation well. Immediately for the first time I sensed that Glen knew my heart and understood what I was saying. I wanted to move into the African American community but everyone I had talked to said it was a bad idea; not Glen. He and Lonni were already living in the African American community of Austin. Glen encouraged me that day to listen to God and follow my heart. That was the beginning of over 35 years of lessons learned from Glen. Circle has always been about five years ahead of us at Lawndale. We learned many lessons from Glen and Circle when opening Lawndale Christian Health Center and Lawndale Christian Development Corporation. Glen served on the Advisory Board of Lawndale Community Church from 1983-1990.

    It was during these critical years that we started our health center, housing work, development corporation and educational ministries. His insightful guidance saved us from many of the pitfalls that often occur in new ministries.

    What a blessing to be tutored by Glen. Our personal connection has also been very deep. We were in a support group together in the mid 80’s that met monthly for 4 years. It was there that I began to see the depth of Glen’s faith and commitment to justice, racial reconciliation and the disenfranchised people of our world. Our hearts have been woven together in ministry and the struggles of living out our faith in the inner city and raising our families. For several years Glen and Raleigh Washington had breakfast with Carey Casey and me to deal openly and honestly with the race issues facing Christians living in America. Glen was always cutting edge when it came to race and continued to break new ground consistently.

    I remember one lunch with Glen especially. Anne and I had felt we needed to move out of Lawndale for 2-3 years. This was one of the hardest decisions that I had ever made.

    It was during that lunch that Glen cried with me and understood my heart and our decision. He counseled me and supported us fully through the difficult days.
    Of course Glen was a part of the early discussions of CCDA. He helped found CCDA and was very significant in shaping our early direction. He has been a faithful board member since we began. Our second conference was hosted by Glen and his wonderful staff.

    Last Friday, Anne and I were blessed to get to visit Glen at his home in Austin. We had a special time with Lonni and Tara. We watched as Tara demonstrated her love for her dad: being sure his every need was handled so carefully. We also visited and prayed with Lonni as she was grieving her life long marriage to her best friend and lover! While with Glen, we sat quietly contemplating his special place in our lives. We read scripture, prayed and shared our love with each other. I called John Perkins and held the phone to Glen’s ear. I heard Glen simply say “Thank you John” as John shared his love and admiration for Glen.

    I told Glen “ I love you and will see you soon” and he simply replied “I love you.”

    Glen’s fingerprints are all over Lawndale, CCDA and me personally! I will miss his thoughtful critiques, his robust laugh, his listening ear and his understanding heart. Thank you Lord for Glen Kehrein, my brother.

    -Wayne Gordon





    Glen Kehrein
    Founding Executive Director
    October 16, 1948 - November 12, 2011

    Who would think that a white farm boy from Wisconsin would have a monumental impact on Christian community development and urban ministry? In 1968 Glen Kehrein stood on the roof of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and watched the smoke billowing from the riots that followed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. That experience launched a life-long desire and mission to address social injustices and the needs of the poor and disenfranchised.

    After a series of God-directed events, Glen Kehrein was hired by Circle Church to be the Community Outreach Coordinator for its efforts to serve the Austin neighborhood. Through the more than 37 years of Circle Urban’s existence, Glen has provided vision, leadership, compassion and results to bring the Light of Christ to Chicago’s Westside.

    On November 12, 2011, Glen went home to be with the Lord following a year-long battle with colon cancer. As Founding Executive Director, Glen exhibited passion and leadership to bring about a transformation of our community. Glen also demonstrated his leadership and selflessness through his role as a founding member of the Christian Community Development Association, serving on numerous boards including the Evangelical Free Church of America and personally mentored dozens of people desiring to serve the Lord through urban ministry.

    Glen served the Lord, his family, and this ministry faithfully through the years. His quick wit, sense of humor, and compassion will be greatly missed. Please continue to hold his family in prayer before the Throne of Grace during this time of loss.

    Visitation and services will be held at:
    Circle Urban Ministries
    118 N. Central Ave.
    Chicago, IL  60644
    Visitation will be Friday November 18th from 5 to 8 PM
    Service will be Saturday November 19th from 11 AM to 1 PM

    In lieu of cut flowers please consider a potted plant or a financial gift to help the family with Glen’s medical expenses. To make a financial gift please send a check made out to Lonni Kehrein. Please mail them to Lonni in care of Circle Urban Ministries, 118 N. Central Ave., Chicago, IL 60644.

    Thank you for your prayers and support.

    (Please be advised that donations made to help defray Glen's medical expenses may not be tax deductable. Please consult your tax advisor.)


    There are other links to remarks and kind thoughts shared by friends and family on the Circle Urban Ministries FaceBook page.


    May our Heavenly Father comfort all of us who mourn Glen's passing and assure us by the fellowship of The Holy Spirit that all who seek to live their lives for GOD's glory will one day receive a rich reward in His eternal kingdom. Amen.