On Sunday, September 11, congregations around southeastern Iowa gathered not only for worship but in a day of service. Many congregations also reflected on the 15th anniversary of 9/11. These congregations participated in “God’s Work. Our Hands.” Sunday, a day of service with other ELCA congregations around the nation. Below are some featured stories from the 2016 day of service.
First Lutheran Church-Chariton
Members and friends of Christ the Servant Lutheran Ministry met after worship to complete their project for God’s Work Our Hands Sunday. They spent two hours mixing and bagging laundry detergent that was donated to two local food pantries. The completed project yielded enough laundry detergent for almost 5,000 loads of laundry. At First Lutheran Church in Chariton, members met after worship and worked on tying quilts for Lutheran World Relief (LWR), packing School Bags for LWR and mixing and bagging laundry detergent for their local food pantry. They packed 70 school bags, tied 2 quilts and packed almost 100 quilts for LWR and made 5800 loads of laundry soap!
Memorial Lutheran Church-Nevada
The members of Memorial Lutheran Church in Nevada began a Day of Service with food packaging for Outreach International. About 110 children, youth, and adults packaged 16,662 meals for the hungry. 25% of the meals will be distributed in Story County, Iowa. They hosted a community prayer service, “Peace for the Nations,” was held on the lawn of Memorial Lutheran Church, Nevada, IA. During the service, prayers of blessing were offered for Nevada Police Officers, Fire Department, and EMS Personnel.
Resurrection Lutheran Church- Ankeny
Resurrection Lutheran Church in Ankeny collected and assembled baskets for the YMCA-Transition from Homelessness program. They also collected breakfast casseroles and hard boiled eggs for the Salvation Army’s Sally Wagon and had a clothing drive.
St. James Lutheran Church-Johnston
St. James Lutheran Church in Johnston made reusable bags from t-shirts and then packed them with items to make for the homeless, they also cut shoe patterns for a project called Sole Hope.
St. Paul Lutheran Church-Martensdale
St. Paul Lutheran Church in Martensdale completed tree trimming and brush clean-up for an elderly resident, assembled 15 birthday cake “kits” for delivery to area food pantries, held a free Farmer’s Market for the community and visited homebound members of their congregation.
Bethany, Faith, Peace, and Trinity Lutheran Churches-Burlington area
In a joint effort, the Lutheran congregations of Burlington worked together on their annual day of service. Bethany, Faith, Messiah, Peace and Trinity Lutheran churches served the greater Burlington area with 40 volunteers on Saturday, September 10th.
They started in worship and ended with a commission to serve. Together they assembled 25 cleaning kits that were delivered to Lutheran Services in Iowa, 47 blessing bags taken to Community Action, collected 70 gallons of trash and debris from local parks, painted the kitchen in the local homeless shelter and washed 2 vehicles as well as cleaned refrigerators for Hope Haven (a local agency assisting those with physical and mental disabilities).
Zion, Immanuel, Faith, Ascension, and Zion (Elvira) Lutheran Churches-Clinton area
Zion and Immanuel Lutheran Church both in Clinton, Faith Lutheran Church in Andover, Ascension Lutheran Church in Goose Lake and Elvira Lutheran Church joined together for a day of service. Three projects took place at Zion-Clinton: packing food items for “Back Pack Buddies,” tying fleece blankets and making ribbon hymnal markers. The other three projects were in the community: folding & sorting clothes and cleaning windows at the Benevolent Society, painting at Hightower Place, and helping with fall clean up at the arboretum.
The congregations also collected fresh fruit and snack bars for Clinton’s first responders in commemoration of the 15th anniversary of Sept. 11th. Law enforcement and the firemen were so pleased to be remembered. At the one fire station, all the firemen came together for a picture with the basket. Baskets were also delivered to the Law Center for Clinton Police Dept. and Clinton County Sheriff Department where the deputy was so pleased he hugged the deliverer! All the congregations were all filled with joy to see all the people come together to do the projects and remember Clinton’s first responders.
St. Mark Lutheran Church-Davenport
Dozens of volunteers gathered at River Bend Foodbank warehouse to pack 2,600 backpacks with 14 items that are child-friendly, easily consumed and vitamin fortified in the warehouse. The Backpack Program helps ensure that children don’t go hungry over the weekend when there are no school meals for them to rely upon. The program serves about 2,600 children throughout the school year. In addition to St. Mark and Zion, participants included volunteers from St. James, Bettendorf; Calvary, Buffalo; Grace, Davenport; St. Paul, Davenport and Faith, Eldridge.
Faith Lutheran Church-Clive
Over 130 people participated in several service projects around the community, with many local partners. Participants labeled packing bags for Meals from the Heartland and prepared literacy kits and first aid kits for Lutheran Services in Iowa’s Child Care Provider Program. They also helped with Lutheran Services in Iowa’s Global Greens Farm, a program that provides plots for refugees to grow food for their families and to sell at local farmer’s markets. Additionally, groups cleaned up a bike trail, helped an elementary school and providing music ministry at nursing home and educating shoppers about hunger and encouraging donations to a regional food pantry.
St. Stephens’s Lutheran Church-Cedar Rapids
St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Cedar Rapids held an interreligious work day with a neighboring Muslim community. The joint project was started with a workday at a local shelter, painting and cleaning, and donating personal care items. They also held a joint, public, inter-faith, prayer service on September 11.