17 Birch Burghardt (middle), St. Luke’s Episcopal

We at St. Luke’s are happy to name Birch Burghardt our Vision Keeper and to celebrate how she carries our faith beyond the church and into the world.

Her service in the spirit of love ranges far, from supporting libraries in Palestine to helping grandparents in Kenya. Her efforts also are also at work close to home. At City Hall she advocated for more affordable housing in Evanston. She marched to protest anti-Muslim bigotry.

At Connections for the Homeless, Birch volunteered to coach parents with schoolchildren because she knew, as a CPS teacher, how much students need support at home to succeed in school.
Birch works with humility. When the overnight shelter needed laundry done, she did laundry. In a discernment group at church, she sought input from people at Connection for the Homeless to uncover their real needs. This led to a fundraising and hands-on effort to refurbish their waiting room.

An Evanston woman remembers being locked out of a friend’s house and her overwhelming fear at checking into the overnight shelter. That night, as she made her way to the women’s sleeping area, she literally leaned on Birch and Sue Murphy for comfort.

As president of the board of Interfaith Action, Birch works with people from many faith communities to serve the hungry and needy. In a time of division, she demonstrates a better way: listening and working together.