What does it mean to “Be the Hands and Feet of Christ on Earth?” At the Church Council meeting last Tuesday, a variety of subjects were discussed and approved, all sharing the need for all members of our congregation to provide for our community, our world, and our congregation.

In addition to the information that follows, reports from the Altar Guild, Building and Grounds, Endowment, and Evangelism reflected joyous ministries where we are being these Hands and Feet. The common element; more can be done with more Hands and Feet involved!

Starting with our congregation, Sunday outdoor worship services will be the last Sunday in June, July, and August again this year. One of the challenges of these services are logistics, making sure we have a functioning sound system, music, bulletins, communion supplies, podiums, offering containers, a soft blanket for the Children’s Message, and even clamps to hold paper from blowing away. We are grateful to those who help plan ahead as well as come early to make these experiences possible.

Please consider volunteering to help for one or more of these dates. A signup sheet will be in the narthex for each of these dates.

The new church website is up and running but it is not a one- time thing. A big emphasis in Outreach (and Inreach) is to share all that St. John’s does and shares with our community. This is a constantly changing thing. Members are asked to keep this current by sharing about events that individuals and groups from our church do both inside and outside our church community. Information should be emailed to [email protected]. Written notes dropped off at the church office or called in are also good ways to share!  The website: www.stjohnsperu.com

We are very grateful to the family of Dorothy Dippel for using Memorial money they provided to fund this renewal of our website. Dorothy and Harry were active and faithful members of St. John’s for many years and this is a fitting way to honor her memory.

In our community, the Good Samaritan Fund is designed to provide quick assistance to people in our community facing emergencies and immediate financial needs. Pastor Tom works with a select set of agencies to assist people with safe housing, food, gas, and miscellaneous other needs. It is included in our church budget but not for the entire demand being experienced. Summer, with children out of school, presents an additional set of challenges for many families. The Church Council asked that I emphasize this special need, asking for additional earmarked contributions to the Good Samaritan Fund. An envelope marked Good Samaritan with a contribution inside and either placed in the offering plate or dropped off at the office, or an online gift through the website is all that is needed.

A related need is for food. The Blessing Box was set up to provide a way for families to obtain short term help when their cupboards are bare. It is to supplement the Food Pantries in our area. This is a way that our congregation can reduce hunger in our community. I have witnessed people of all ages, from those with children to senior citizens, come to this food source at a variety of hours to take just what they need. Members and nonmembers alike are asked to provide dry goods that can be placed in the Box for sharing. Cash donations are also welcome, again in an envelope or online but marked Blessing Box. It will be used to purchase food for the Box.

The garden has been planted and soon fresh produce will be available as well. Thank you to all who helped!

In our world, the Church Council approved this year’s fundraising request from Jan Delvallee to gather donations for Lutheran World Relief.  This has been a ministry of love by Jan for many years, and I expect she will scold me for singling her out. In June, she will gather specific supplies and cash donations, assemble emergency packages, then get them to LWR when the quilts are shipped out. A container for drop-offs will be in the narthex in June and Jan will be providing a list of needed items.

Finally, some members have faced economic challenges and have needed to reduce their contributions to the church to make ends meet. Contributions are down slightly from last year. Council continues to find ways to reduce expenses through Grants, strategic use of Memorial funds, and lower costs for needed services. At this point we are asking all members to consider increasing their giving if they can, even by small amounts. St. John’s is a generous blessing to the Illinois Valley and we want to continue to be a strong center of our community for years to come.

Dave Kromphardt

Church Council President