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29 Nov 22 115 1 0

Fitchburg’s Emanuel Lutheran Church gathers items for children in Cambodia

Cool Story - Fitchburg’s Emanuel Lutheran Church gathers items for children in Cambodia

FITCHBURG — During the most recent Homecoming Sunday at Emanuel Lutheran Church, Pastor Daniel Spigelmyer Jr. referred to the situation as "holy chaos," but the congregation had requested it.

The culmination of a summer-long outreach initiative to gather hygiene products for disabled children in Cambodia served as the day's focal point, according to Spigelmyer, who spoke of the congregation's continued commitment to charitable giving.

On September 25, the Fitchburg church held a morning worship service to celebrate the congregation's identity as followers of Jesus who are set free by God's love and who serve others.

The pastor informed the audience of the great work being done at Emanuel during his sermon that day.

He remarked, "God is changing lives here. God's task is completed here with our hands.”

The congregation was to be inspired by the joyful worship session and sermon to work on the outreach project after the barbeque potluck supper.

Member of the Emanuel Outreach Committee Judy Normandin remarked, "It was a really beautiful day." It was clear that everyone was motivated, enthusiastic, and well-intentioned, and Pastor Daniel's message was the ideal complement to their project.

The church on John Fitch Highway is taking part in a larger service initiative called "God's Work. Our Hands," which Spigelmyer described as an annual ELCA effort to ‘strengthen congregations' relationships with God, nurture relationships with each other, and create a powerful presence defined by loving, freed service within their communities.

The church chose Safe Haven Medical Outreach as its partner organization for its "God's Work. Our Hands" project earlier in the year. Safe Haven Medical Outreach is a nonprofit located in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

The goal of Safe Haven is to intervene and assist kids in Cambodia who has disabilities and health problems. Through their work, they give kids access to the therapeutic and medical resources they need to live healthy lives and help them realize their full potential and the highest level of independence.

The decision was simple because Heather Connell, who founded Safe Haven and serves as its executive director, is an Emanuel member, Spigelmyer said.

Along with chewable pills and acetaminophen, dental floss, toothpaste, toothbrushes, thermometers, bandages, and other supplies, Emanuel members also collected hygiene supplies for Safe Haven during the summer and set them around the altar in the church sanctuary. The congregation generously donated the items because Safe Haven particularly identified them as being in urgent need.

During the homecoming worship session, Spigelmyer blessed the goods with the aid of the church children before they were packed for transport to Cambodia after the service.

The majority of their effort and financial requirements are focused on providing clinical services. People frequently ask Connell if stuff like clothing, school materials, or shoes are essential, but they are far more expensive, difficult to bring over, and items easily available at low prices in Cambodia already.”

The congregation additionally collaborated with Thrivent for their "God's Work. Our Hands Project," a nonprofit financial services firm that offers volunteer services to churches, charitable organizations, and schools and directly supports outreach activities, volunteer initiatives, and charitable giving. They contributed food for the barbecue and supplies for the project's planning, respectively.

According to Spigelmyer, "Thrivent saw an opportunity to engage with Emanuel to amplify the congregation's service effect and strengthen local and international ties."

He continued by describing the project as "organized bedlam" and asserting that "having more people serve is more important than making sure everything is completed quickly, like an assembly line. God is present amid the chaos.

It was a bit crazy but enjoyable, a churchgoer named Gail Stewart agreed. The church filled three storage bins with the approximately 500 sanitary products they donated to Safe Haven.

Stewart proudly stated that day, "We have so much to contribute to children in Cambodia."

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, or ELCA, is a religious organization that Emanuel belongs to. With more than 3 million members spread out among all 50 states and the Caribbean, the ELCA is one of the biggest Christian denominations in the country. The works of the German church reformer Martin Luther serve as the foundation for the ELCA, which places a strong emphasis on God's grace via trust in Jesus Christ.

According to Spigelmyer Jr., the church welcomes anyone and everyone to join them as they "strive to live out God's love in the community."

He said, "This love, the love of God and his Son Jesus, is what we want others to 'Come and see!' in this place, among us, acted out in, with, and through us. The church also participates every year in 'God's Work. Our Hands' service effort.

The Emanuel member Paul Lieneck stated that one of the fundamental actions of discipleship is serving.

Next time Connell travels to Cambodia, which she does at least three times a year, she will bring the items with her.

Angie Hollenbeck, the church president, referred to the 2020 fire as "Emanuel stayed strong despite COVID and a fire that devastated our sanctuary."

They worked hard to defend their group members and the neighborhood. They are now focusing on helping those in need by undertaking projects like "God's Work. Our Hands."

You can also conduct an event in your town to collect items. Give those items to organizations working to serve and support deserving children. You can also directly give those items to deserving children Start your cool deed today by using free cooldeeds.org tools.


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