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Faith Ministry Stories

Giving in Thankfulness

Posted by Pastor John Klawiter on

I’m thankful for my family and friends. I’m thankful for our home and safety. I’m thankful for Faith Lutheran, where I serve as pastor, and the blessings that I see my congregation share with the community.

Our church ponders where God is at work in our community and how we can be mindful of the needs of others. Often, issues like homelessness, hunger, and human trafficking seem like problems in another place—that’s not a problem here, in Forest Lake, is it?

Recently, I visited a man on hospice who heard at church about the various food ministries that we were doing to help feed kids.

"Are there really that many kids in need of food?" he asked. His question had the undertone of, how is this possible when there are so many people who can help? It doesn't seem right--it's not fair.

“Yes,” I told him. “But I’m amazed at the response we are witnessing.”

When he died, he requested his memorials be designated to provide food for children within our community.

I’m thankful for his gift to see how he could respond—even in death—to look towards others.

What can we do in a world where things don’t always seem fair?

We all want to help, but we often don’t know where to start.

LAMP (the Lakes Area Ministerial Partnership) is a monthly gathering of faith community leaders. We join to support each other in ministry and leadership.

In November, we talked about Thanksgiving and how we’re each supporting the community. Here are just a few highlights:

Hosanna Lutheran hosted the Woodbury Chorus and Orchestra with 100 percent of the proceeds going towards the local food shelves

Forest Hills United Methodist is collecting 2,500 dry items to give to Community Helping Hands by Nov. 30.

Church of Saint Peter Catholic Church is serving a freewill Thanksgiving meal with all the proceeds going towards a new homeless shelter in Hugo (I’ll tell you more about this in December).

Linwood Covenant serves a meal at the Linwood Town Hall on Thanksgiving Day from noon-2 p.m. (volunteers are welcome starting at 8 a.m.)

At Faith Lutheran, we received a generous donation of 16 turkeys by someone in our congregation. He wanted to remain anonymous, but there weren't any expectations on how the turkeys were distributed.

They asked, what should we do with the turkeys? Each turkey was given as a prize for people who played Turkey BINGO on Wednesday, the 15th, with all of the proceeds going to the local food shelves.

Like many of the churches in our community, we wanted to help ensure that families who can’t easily afford to put a Thanksgiving meal—or any meal—on their tables would know that their neighbors love them and want to help provide them food.

My hope is that as you read this, you would consider how you can reach out to help our community in the coming months. Can you support a local church, organization, or food shelf with a financial donation, volunteer your time, or come up with a creative idea that uses your talents to help others?

I am thankful for all that you do to make our community a place that cares for each other! Happy Thanksgiving!

This article was originally published in the Forest Lake Times


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