Faith at work in Walworth County
But after weekly church services let out, and after organized interest groups have influenced the political process, the real work of faith begins.
Ideas, policies and plans are one thing, but putting one's money-or faith in this case-where one's mouth is turns concepts into reality.
Sunday's cover story, written by reporter Mike Heine and photographed by Terry Mayer, is one such example. We're tough on criminals-a reflection of what society deems appropriate consequences or criminal actions.
Incarceration, however, is the easy solution. The nagging question is: How do we prevent crime in the first place, or at least keep people from going back?
That idea is behind the work of Jail Chaplain Mike Dale who, with a group of volunteers, seeks a spiritual path to turning lives around.
"We're not here to accuse them or condemn them," Dale tells Heine. "We're here to show them there is a way."
So people like Mike Dale remain undeterred, tackling society's most difficult and vexing problems.
Even an atheist would agree that the work that comes from faith is a powerful force for making our communities strong and keeping them healthy.
Faith at Work is a theme we've been pursuing over the past year, and today's cover story is just one more example.
It's a theme that pops up over and over again as we tell the stories of our communities each week.
What makes them unique is that these stories aren't simply about people spreading their faith, but about people trying improve the lives of people in their communities.
A few examples over the past few months include:
Charlotte Huntley's profile of a group of East Troy women who gather once a week to pray for their children's schools. Their prayer is just one aspect of their involvement and commitment to the schools that their children attend.
Huntley also wrote about a group from Calvary Community Church in Williams Bay that traveled to the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast to help with reconstruction. While federal and state agencies were agonizingly slow in getting help to those who needed it. Church groups quickly mobilized to provide direct and lasting help.
In the midst of winter, Donna Lenz Wright reported on area churches that banded together to provide shelter for the homeless. The shelter rotated among churches in Lake Geneva, Delavan and Elkhorn.
We'll continue to cover how our friends and neighbors, motivated by their faith, are an important institution in the life and health of our communities.
If you know of an example worth covering, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment on the blog at www.theweekextra.com/blogs/editor.