God’s Word continues to be spread in our congregations and communities, even during the pandemic.
David Russow, pastor at Hope, Andover, Minn., shares how God’s work continues in the local nursing home:
Pastor Emeritus Will Neumann (pictured at his 90th birthday with Russow, right before the pandemic shutdown) is a resident at Edgewood Senior Living, Blaine, Minn. I had been conducting weekly Sunday chapel services at the facility for about 20 to 30 worshipers, including Pastor Will. When outside access to the facility was no long possible, Pastor Will gathered 8 to 10 others together and read hard copies of the sermons I sent him. The proclamation of the Word goes on!
Congregations have become creative so they can continue to reach more with the gospel.
Mt. Olive, Lincoln, Neb., set up an altar outside and began offering outdoor services during the summer to provide additional options for families to worship. Services were broadcasted through an FM radio station for those who wanted to remain in their vehicles. “Instead of focusing on the negative challenges created by this pandemic, we prefer to consider the positive/creative opportunities we have to bring God’s good news to a frightened world,” says Tim Kemnitz, pastor at Mt. Olive.
The congregation also used the venue to host youth group movie nights, which several neighborhood families attended.
Churches across the country are reaching out in love to families in their communities.
St. Mark, De Pere, Wis., held a Fill the Bus School Supply drive to collect supplies for families at a local elementary school, while Cross of Christ, Boise, Idaho, distributed bags filled with groceries to those who needed them in their community.
In Texas, two congregations handed out backpacks and back-to-school supplies to neighborhood families. Read on . . .
Our Savior, San Antonio, Texas (pictured), has been holding a Load Up for Learning event for several years. This year, the congregation hosted two events: one on the central campus location and one hosted by the core group of the congregation’s second campus (see p. 24). “We also turned our events into drive-through events,” says Nate Sutton, pastor at Our Savior.
About 75 percent of the students attending the schools near the congregation’s central campus come from financially disadvantaged families. “This year more than ever, families relied on Load Up for Learning to make sure their children were ready for the start of school,” says Sutton. “Families began lining up three hours before our event. These events enable us to make connections and build bridges within our community.”
In Killeen, Texas, members at Abiding Savior handed out backpacks, thermal water bottles, and thermal lunchboxes to more than 100 families. “From children of lower income homes to children in homes hit hard by the COVID pandemic, each backpack impressed others with the kindness of Christ,” says Tim Soukup, pastor at Abiding Savior.
He shares that people were happy—and surprised—to see Christian love displayed in this way. He heard comments like, “We didn’t know how we were actually going to get these supplies, and then we came across your generous offer. People—churches—rarely love like this anymore! It’s all really free!”
Says Soukup, “Abiding Savior now has a new contact list of 90 families to follow up on and send gospel blog posts and e-devotions. And our church family members themselves were recharged by the love of Jesus in being able to serve others in this way.”
Both congregations, along with Christ, Denver, Colo., and Risen Savior, Lakewood Ranch, Fla., received humanitarian aid grants from WELS Christian Aid and Relief to help buy supplies.
Read more about humanitarian aid projects at wels.net/relief.
Volume 107, Number 11
Issue: November 2020
- Back to the basics: The Apostles’ Creed - 2023/06/07
- WELS news briefs: June 2023 - 2023/05/31
- WELS podcasts: Small Talk - 2023/05/31