Many of our church events are sponsored by our Social Ministries committee and proceeds are distributed to local food pantries and charities. “Shepherd’s Table” is a new outreach ministry which provides food and fellowship every Wednesday from 11am - 1pm for any local residents. In addition, our church community garden provides produce for Shepherd’s Table, local food pantries and church members. A grocery cart located in our narthex is a drop-off spot for grocery items that are distributed to several local food pantries. Our annual “Steak Fry”, held in September, is also an outreach for those in need, as well as raising money for local food pantries. The following local organizations have received support for 2017:
Bread of Life Food Pantry, Apple River
Caring Neighbors Pantry, Warren
Elizabeth Food Basket
The Mop Shop
Volunteer Hospice of NW Illinois
Tyler’s Justice Center
Sonshine Center Outreach
Jo Daviess County Crop Hunger Walk
Christmas gifts to local families through Apple River State Bank
As a member congregation of the ELCA, we send our general mission support dollars to the Northern Illinois Synod. The Northern Illinois Synod is made up of over 150 congregations with a combined membership of nearly 100,000. It works with many partner organizations and institutions to make Christ known throughout our communities and in the world. Some of these partners include Augustana College; Diakonia; Lutheran Outdoor Ministries, Oregon, IL; Lutheran Social Services of Illinois; Lutheran Campus Ministries; Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago; Wartburg Seminary, Dubuque; and Women of the NI Synod.
The ELCA also nurtures important connections with Lutheran, ecumenical and interfaith partners, and related organizations. We work alongside 26 colleges and universities related to the ELCA, eight seminaries, more than 2,000 schools and early childhood education centers, campus ministries, outdoor ministries, social service agencies, and other agencies and institutions across the country and throughout the world. The work God calls us to do in the world is never done alone or in isolation, and the churchwide organization plays a key role in developing and supporting a culture of interdependence, diversity and common mission across all expressions of the ELCA and its partners.
Our congregation also responds to those in need around the world through support of Lutheran World Relief (LWF) and ELCA Global Missions, World Hunger and Disaster Relief projects.
Every year our members donate quilts, school kits, personal health care kits and new bars of soap that are distributed overseas by Lutheran World Relief. When a hurricane, flood or famine occurs around the world, special collections are taken for ELCA Disaster Relief. Generous contributions are also made to purchase items from ELCA World Hunger’s Good Gifts Catalogue. In the past several years we have funded microloans for women, several water wells, family farms, oxen and ploughs, and numerous animals (chicks, pigs, goats, cows). This has been accomplished through a monthly “noisy change” offering, gift-giving ideas such as “advent tree ornaments” of individual animals or “chicks” for Lent, and “Hogs n Kisses” Piggy Banks.
ELCA Global Mission works alongside more than 80 companion churches in other countries. There are opportunities for relationships with these churches and missionaries who serve within these communities. Over the past several years we have sponsored a missionary family at Tokyo Lutheran Church. They shared their journey through newsletters and visits to our congregation. After they completed their service we chose to sponsor Dr. Stephen J. and Jodi Lynn Swanson in Tanzania. They are both involved in the care of children at Arusha Lutheran Medical Center and Selian Lutheran Hospital in Arusha. Our Northern Illinois Synod also has a companion relationship with them, the hospitals and Tanzania. We look forward to offering them encouragement and support as well as learning more about their work and the global community of which we are all a part.