This month congregations around southeastern Iowa gathered not only for worship but in a day of service. 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 2015 day of service. If you have photos or stories from your congregation you’d like to share please email them to Val Harlynn, Associate for Communications, [email protected]


Bethany Lutheran Church, West Branch


Bethany Lutheran Church was proud to participate in the 3rd annual day of service. They accomplished a great deal including: making bibs for a non-profit daycare, painting the exterior of the bathrooms at Beranek Park, washing the windows of the church, trimming bushes and pulling leaves around the church grounds. They also were able to wash the windows and pull weeds for their neighbor Families Inc., They also cleaned off their roof to let a bunch of standing water flow out the drains, and installed some trim pieces in the parsonage to finish up the floors.

 St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, Cedar Rapids

St. Stephen’s put together an intergenerational team of 33 people who spent Sunday afternoon at Waypoint’s Madge Phillips Center in Cedar Rapids. This is a shelter for homeless women and their children. They spent the afternoon deep cleaning all the shared spaces, bathrooms, and kitchen, repairing tables, and making lists of things the shelter could use in the months ahead.


Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Vinton

Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Vinton, Iowa coordinated  our second annual community wide food packaging event in conjunction with Outreach, Inc.  Last year, we packaged 26,000 meals and we wanted to at least match that same number this year.  We smashed that number and packaged over 36,000 meals.  We had 278 volunteers from many avenues, including our congregation, several area churches and other community members help with this event.  From the oldest members to the youngest members of the community, everybody got involved.  If that isn’t God’s work, I don’t know what is. Half of the meals will stay in Benton County, Iowa and the rest will go internationally, wherever the need is greatest.

The event was covered in the local newspaper Vinton Today

and also on Outreach, Inc’s facebook at

St. John Lutheran Church, Ely

Several volunteers from St. John Lutheran Church  in Ely met at the Ely Public Library to help clean up State Street as part of “God’s Work. Our Hands” Sunday. Several children from their congregation also put their hands to work creating beautiful cards for the veterans at the VA Hospital in Iowa City.