Tag Archives: wes tillett

Honoring LUM Staff – Celebrating Historic Year


Persistence | Passion | Love | Determination


This past Tuesday, the dedicated staff members of Lafayette Urban Ministry gathered at Lafayette Brewing Company for the annual LUM staff appreciation lunch to celebrate the wonderful accomplishments of 2020, a unique & historic year.

The success of LUM last year can, in part, be attributed to the Persistence, Passion, Love and Determination of each member of the LUM staff.


Thanks to Lafayette Brewing Company management and staff for creating a safe environment for our annual luncheon as well as for great food & service. 


Pictured L to R are Pablo Malavenda, Eileen Weiss, Wes Tillett, Nancy Emig, Gayle Koning, Briton Weise, Patrick Renfroe, Linda Hicks, Minnette Trent, and Nina Morgan.

Harrison Kiwanis Club Donates $300 to LUM


State Rep Sheila Klinker Delivers $300 Check

Early one morning this past week, Indiana State Representative Sheila Klinker delivered a $300 donation from the Harrison Kiwanis Club to Wes Tillett, LUM executive director (pictured). The Harrison Kiwanis Club is part of a global community of clubs, members and partners in 80 countries and geographic areas dedicated to improving the lives of children one community at a time.

This gift will be used to offer assistance to families in our community, including the support of the LUM Youth Programs. LUM is grateful to all of the members of the Harrison Kiwanis Club, especially Representative Klinker, for their continued support of LUM. If you, your group or organization would like to invest in the children & families served by LUM, click the button below to donate or email lum@lumserve.org.

Offering Hospitality – EVERY Night Since 1984


LUM Emergency Shelter – the COVID-19 Response

Even before Indiana issued the Stay-At-Home order, LUM and other community agencies sprang into action to address the realities of the pandemic. Portable sinks were purchased, others were donated. Masks were hand-made and distributed free of charge. Extra protocols were put into effect, such as cleaning, sanitizing, taking nightly temperature checks, and practicing social distancing. And, as has been the case since it began in 1984, the LUM Emergency Shelter never missed a night of offering a safe, warm, secure place to those experiencing homelessness in our community.  

In the first eight months of 2020, LUM has provided over 5,500 overnight stays to 489 individuals, with four of those months in the midst of a global pandemic. All of the adaptation to COVID-19 realities has not been without cost. Additional cleaning supplies and equipment have been purchased and used. Volunteerism almost disappeared entirely during the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order. Additional paid staff hours have filled the volunteer gap. 

Nonetheless, LUM has continued to address the complex problems facing our guests who are chronically homeless. Addiction, mental illness, emotional and physical disabilities, and unwise choices — all exacerbated by the anxieties of the pandemic — have never been harder to overcome. But the LUM staff members, now led by the new LUM Emergency Shelter director, Briton Weise, have resiliently served our guests, helping the guests to see brighter future possibilities.


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Emergency Shelter

LUM Emergency Shelter – During a Crisis


A Letter from Wes Tillett, LUM Executive Director

Do you remember where you were on the night of Monday, March 23,when “Stay Home, Stay Safe” was ordered for the State of Indiana? 

I was home, safe and warm, playing board games with my wife and kids. Logan Smith (not his real name) was lining up in the frigid 37 degree temperatures to get inside the LUM Emergency Shelter. For Logan and many other people in Tippecanoe County who had no place to call home, “Stay Home, Stay Safe” was frighteningly unrealistic.   

  • How does one stay home and safe with no place to call home?
  • How does one regularly wash one’s hands without access to a sink?
  • How does one wear a mask when one doesn’t have one?  

LUM was there for Loganon March 23 — and every night since, providing a place to temporarily call home and stay safe. LUM understood that the risk of COVID-19 to the homeless population was not just a health concern for individuals experiencing homelessness themselves but, due to the highly contagious nature of coronavirus, a risk to broader public health as well.

I am grateful that Logan had somewhere to go on March 23 to stay safe from the cold, and stay safe from coronavirus. There are brighter days ahead for Logan and for all of us. We may have several more months of difficulty before we get there. God will give Logan and all of us strength to persevere.  

Please, will you make a generous financial gift to the Lafayette Urban Ministry Emergency Shelter, so that we can continue to offer people like Logan a warm, safe and caring place to shelter in these pandemic times?

With appreciation,

Wes Tillett, LUM Executive Director


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LUM Board of Directors – Getting It Done

Video Board Meetings Are Working Well

Last week, the LUM Board of Directors held their monthly meeting using video conferencing. The agenda was distributed along with a code to “Join the Meeting” online. Remote meetings continue to be productive and successfully connect and engage everyone involved. 

Joan Low, LUM board president, led the meeting; and Wes Tillett, LUM executive director, attended and contributed on behalf of the LUM staff. A healthy second quarter financial report was presented and approved. Pictured are the LUM board & staff members who participated. This is yet another example of how LUM continues to be flexible and adaptive during the COVID-19 crisis because LUM is determined to continue serving local families and children in need.


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Social Distancing – LUM Staff Meeting


Volunteers & Staff – Adapting to COVID-19

LUM is determined to remain open to support local families in need and individuals experiencing homelessness. To maintain a safe & healthy space, LUM staff members communicate regularly, adapt to the ever-changing situation, support each other and practice self-care. LUM Staff members have been meeting more frequently — using video conferencing (pictured).

Please remember LUM during this difficult time. Your gifts of cash donations ($5, $10, $50, $100 or $500), needed items (cleaning supplies, food pantry items & shelter meals), and time (volunteer at the shelter or food pantry) are GREATLY appreciated and needed.

Donate $$ | Donate Needed Items | Volunteer | Prepare a Shelter Meal

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Social Distancing – LUM Staff Meeting

Zoom Staff Meeting Led By Wes Tillett

During this crisis, the LUM Staff members have been meeting more frequently — using video conferencing (pictured).

LUM is determined to remain open to support local families in need and individuals experiencing homelessness. To do this and maintain a safe & healthy environment, LUM staff members communicate regularly, adapt to the ever-changing situation, support each other and practice self-care — physically, spiritually and emotionally.


The LUM Emergency Shelter and Protein Food Pantry remain open with strict protocols to keep everyone safe. The LUM Good Samaritan Program (emergency financial assistance) and Immigration Clinic are serving clients using online forms, email and the phone.

Please remember LUM during this difficult time. Your gifts of cash donations ($5, $10, $50, $100 or $500), needed items (cleaning supplies, food pantry items & shelter meals), and time (volunteer at the shelter or food pantry) are GREATLY appreciated and needed.

Donate $$ | Donate Needed Items | Volunteer | Prepare a Shelter Meal

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Social Distancing – LUM Board Meeting

First Ever – LUM Board “Video” Meeting

Last night, the LUM Board of Directors held their monthly meeting using video conferencing. The agenda was distributed along with a code to “Join the Meeting” online. The remote meeting was productive, albeit unorthodox, and successfully connected and engaged everyone involved. Joan Low, LUM board president, led the meeting; and Wes Tillett attended and contributed for the first time as the LUM executive director.

Pictured are the LUM board & staff members who participated. This is yet another example of how LUM is adapting to the COVID-19 crisis because LUM is determined to continue serving local families and children in need.


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Social Distancing – LUM Staff Meeting

Zoom Staff Meeting Led By Wes Tillett

This week, Wes Tillett presided over his first staff meeting as the LUM executive director. Of course it was a remote, video staff meeting. Because many LUM staff members have not “seen” each other in more than two weeks, the energy was high. The mood was collaborative, focused and compassionate. The meeting ended with each staff member even more determined to find a way to support local children and families by continuing to keep LUM open for business.


The LUM Emergency Shelter and Protein Food Pantry remain open with strict protocols to keep everyone safe. The LUM Good Samaritan Program (emergency financial assistance) and Immigration Clinic are serving clients using online forms, email and the phone.

Please remember LUM during this difficult time. Your gifts of cash donations ($5, $10, $50, $100 or $500), needed items (cleaning supplies, food pantry items & shelter meals), and time (volunteer at the shelter or food pantry) are GREATLY appreciated and needed.

Donate $$ | Donate Needed Items | Volunteer | Prepare a Shelter Meal

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A Letter from Wes Tillett – LUM Executive Director


Hello! It is a joyful honor to re-enter the Lafayette Urban Ministry orbit. My wife and I have fondness in our hearts for LUM (15 years ago, when I had hair) and are excited to jump back in, rekindle old connections, nurture new connections, and introduce our children to this amazing ministry.

If you are reading this, it tells me that you are an active part of the LUM family. Thank you! Every person matters. Every act of generosity of time, talent, and treasure counts. I am grateful for how you have helped make LUM such a helpful and healthy agency that serves others.

As I enter into the Executive Director position, I am humbled by and appreciative of the fabulous and faithful leadership of Joe Micon. His record of 495 consecutive board meetings is in no danger of being broken by me (I’d have to serve until I was 83). I know Joe built on the foundation of Executive Directors, Rev. Jud Dolphin and Rev. Ron Elly. I am asking God for the grace to continue a legacy of courageous servant-leadership with LUM.

No doubt there is some anxiety as a new person takes a place of leadership.
Can we trust Wes? Is he capable? Will he change everything? Will we like him? Will he like us? Can he faithfully maximize the good that is already present in LUM and effectively navigate future realities? All those questions are honest and good — and normal.

In response to those types of questions, I reassure you that I come into this role with both a sense of humility and confidence — and a “dependence on God” to give me the wisdom to respond to the ever-evolving needs of the Lafayette / West Lafayette community and to show up strong in the midst of my weakness (“My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” 2 Corinthians 12:9). As a recovering perfectionist, I am keenly aware of my weaknesses, more than my strengths; and it is a comfort to know that God fills in my gaps.

As for my confidence, it is built upon the reality that “God cares more about this than I do and will work it out better than I can.” This faith has guided me over the past 10 years – moving to the Middle East (Lebanon) and moving back to the Midwest (Michigan) to start a new congregation (Voyage Church).

I have seen the faithfulness of God at every turn—honing my strengths and granting me success. All of this goodness gives me confidence to experience that goodness in the present and the future.

I am excited to move back to Tippecanoe County, learn the ropes of LUM, appreciate what is, and dream about what could be. What would it look like to more and more effectively meet the needs of children and families, of immigrants, of individuals without homes, and the most vulnerable among us? What would it look like to do what together we do at LUM so well that other communities seek to follow our model? With God all things are possible.

Let’s continue to lean in and serve those around us. I am eager to learn and grow, to lead and serve.

Wes Tillett, LUM Executive Director