St. Paul Lutheran Church, Winterset
St. Paul Lutheran Church of Winterset participated in the ELCA God’s Work Our Hands day of service on September 26, 2021. This was their first year with the project, and it was a huge success. Over 75 St. Paul members and friends–children, youth, families, adults, and seniors—participated in a wide variety of projects within the community.
- Children made thank you cards for our service workers—health, fire, ambulance, and police—and delivered them with personal greetings.
- Confirmation youth cleaned up the exterior grounds and resealed a wooden playset at low-income housing.
- Thechurch’s quilters donated 30 quilts to a nursing home to distribute to residents who have infrequent visitors or no family in the area.
- Led by a Master Gardener, city alleys and sidewalks were cleaned in a beautification effort.
- Youth and adults provided the labor needed by a paralyzed church member to enjoy his outdoor living space.
The congregation began the day with morning worship, followed by the service projects; they gathered back at the church for lunch fellowship. Some continued their day of service by participating in the CROP Walk, collaboratively sponsored by the community’s churches. For St. Paul, this became “God’s Work Our Hands Our Feet,” not only serve to our neighbors, but also to the global community.
Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Vinton
On Sunday, September 12th members gathered to assemble 76 school kits, 76 health kits and finished one quilt for Lutheran World Relief. These kits are shipped around the world during natural disasters and to those displaced by violence.
First Lutheran Church, Cedar Rapids
Thanks to the 35 good-hearted Lutherans of all ages who represented First
Lutheran Church in Cedar Rapids as part of the ELCA’s “God Work, Our Hands” national day of service. Our folks donated blood, picked up trash in our parks, and fed the hungry. Impact Life Shared some amazing stats from Sunday’s blood drive. “Wow what an amazing turnout! You ended up having 19 donors give 21 units of blood (because of the double red cells). That means that up to 63 local patients will receive life-saving blood and blood products because of your support! Amazing!”
St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Ames
“Maybe we could……….” has been the beginning for a lot of successful things. Members were discussing God’s Work. Our Hands. for September 12 at St. Andrew’s in Ames. “Outside would be best, considering the pandemic.”
“It should be big and noticeable since we aren’t visible from the main street here….”
“Free for folks, maybe free food, and it should be noisy to draw attention…”
And then together they blurted out “RENAISSANCE FAIRE!” And that was the beginning.
St. Andrew’s has held a winter madrigal dinner for the past 15 years, except 2021, so there was a ready supply of costumes and decorations, and musicians and many in the congregation have participated, so this seemed to be a logical path to take. Committees were assigned to tents featuring arts and crafts, gardening, music, games, and food. Church members responded with enthusiasm and good spirits and donned costumes, shared fabulous ideas and generous hearts, and created our very own colorful village on the front lawn. The day was a huge success. Families, couples, and college students- some even in costumes themselves – came and were fed, laughed at our jokes, listened to music – the kids (and adults as well!) made crowns, threw foam axes, ‘fed’ the dragon with bean bags, played board games and feasted on free turkey legs and pies, sandwiches and cookies.
The community was highly involved once a member, Lisa Downs, jumped in to contact businesses. So many in town were excited about this community event, and hundreds of dollars worth of giveaways were donated for door prizes: gift cards to coffee shops, restaurants, artwork, mugs, and t-shirts, to name only a few. Lisa hand-delivered many of these prizes which allowed for a beautiful personal contact with folks who had visited our church for the first time. She even made plans to have coffee with two people who are new in town.
On feedback from volunteers, two responses stood out: “I especially loved the interaction of the kids and adults (that they didn’t know) in the game tent”; and“I loved having free food for people who seemed to appreciate it so much and enjoy a day that was just easy, nothing required of them.”
Before St. Andrew’s even started dismantling the village, the phrases ‘next year’ and ‘we should get some chickens next time’ and ‘maybe we’ll need more…’, so it seems like this may be the start of a tradition. The most important part was that members at St. Andrew’s were able to interact with so many people we’d never met, and give them a big, free party to share the love and joy of Christ in the community.