BackpackLast year’s Backpacks, Blessings, and Barbecue at the Bandshell was such an overwhelming success that we’re doing it again this year on August 23rd. Last summer, Immanual worshipers came out to the Fred P. Hall Amphitheater in Community Park and enjoyed a worship service jam packed with…well, backpacks, blessings and barbecue!  A few passers-by stopped and enjoyed the worship and festivities too.  This year, we’re hoping to attract many more.

Backpacks, Blessings, and Barbecue at the Bandshell is more than a worship service; it’s a community event. We have great worship opportunities every Saturday and Sunday within the walls of our beloved church, but our mission as Christians requires us to do so much more. It requires us to share our faith with others, especially in our community. This is what we as a church and school are making a concerted effort to do. Last year, Pastor Tom thought that we needed to bring who we are out into the community. If we want more people in our community to become a part of us, shouldn’t they know the faces of those who represent us? What better way than to put them on a community platform that would showcase these faces and the voices that come with them? And that’s just what we did.

It was a hot steamy day that came after a summer rain. Pastor Tom and the Praise Band got up on the stage to begin the service, but Pastor Warren was nowhere to be seen. A few minutes later, he showed up wearing the suit he’d been wearing for the earlier services back at the church. Pastor Tom, wearing cargo shorts, looked at him incredulously. After a brief repartee between them, Pastor Warren shed his suit and donned appropriate summer wear and the service continued. Besides the fun, we were there for a purpose…to proclaim the love of Christ out in our community and bring an awareness of who we are and what our church and school have to offer.

IMG_4936This year’s Backpacks, Blessings, and Barbecue at the Bandshell will begin with worship service at 10:45 and the barbecue will be from 11:30 to 2:00. The blessing of the backpacks will be a good time for students and educators to get excited about the start of a new school year, which begins the next day! The event is open to the entire community and will feature worship, music, the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs from Lutheran Church Charities, and of course, food. The event is free thanks to member donations and contributions from local businesses. Stade’s farm will donate corn on the cob. Pork for the pork chop sandwiches will be provided by US Foods at a discounted price. Event coordinator and Palatine High School teacher Erika Varela sent out letters to local grocery stores who responded and will provide watermelon, chips, cookies, and hot dogs for the kids.

Last year, around 200 people attended and this year we’re hoping for 300. Flyers are going up around town and volunteers are needed to help with a variety of things. Even if you can’t join us on August 23rd, there are many other ways to help out. Sign up or get more information at

Backpacks, Blessings, and Barbecue at the Bandshell may be a mouthful to say, but no matter what you call it, bringing our faith into the community sure can be a lot of fun! God has called us to be servants. By providing a community worship service, we are working for the glory of God. This, in essence, is for the betterment of us all. Please join us at the Fred P. Hall Amphitheater, 262 E. Palatine Road, Palatine. If the weather proves uncooperative, the activities will be held at Immanuel Lutheran Church and School, 200 North Plum Grove Road, Palatine.