United Voices for Children presented the Bishop Jesse R. DeWitt Child Advocacy Award to Rosecrance Chaplain William “Bill” Lenters at the organization’s annual breakfast, held June 6th in St. Charles, IL.
The Bishop Jesse R. DeWitt Child Advocacy Award given by United Voices for Children is presented annually to a United Methodist Lay and Clergy person for their outstanding work advocating for children and youth.
Rev. Lenters has been active in many areas of children’s and youth ministry since joining as Rosecrance’s Chaplain in 1998. For nearly two decades, Rev. Lenters has had a passion for ministry for young people in early recovery. Working primarily out of the Rosecrance Griffin-Williamson adolescent campus in Rockford and Rosecrance’s Lakeview recovery residence and counseling center in Chicago, Rev. Lenters’ ministry has focused on creating a safe space for youth to be engaged in their own treatment, spiritual development and self-love.
Lenters, an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, previously served as campus minister at Purdue University, parish pastor at churches in Chicago and Cleveland, and chaplain at a treatment center in Phoenix, AZ. He holds Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees. Rev. Lenters is an award-winning published author in the addictions field, having written The Freedom We Crave – Addiction, The Human Experience. His “Bread for the Journey” column written for Rosecrance is distributed to pastors and churches of many denominations in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa, to Rosecrance staff and to many other avid readers.
The Bishop Jesse R. DeWitt Child Advocacy Award is named for the late Bishop Jesse R. DeWitt. While serving as the United Methodist Church Northern Illinois Conference bishop from 1980 to 1988, Bishop Jesse R. DeWitt led by example as he participated, represented and spoke out for children, youth and families who did not have a voice. One of his greatest passions was speaking out to educate and inform local churches about legislation and issues impacting the lives of children.