by Kevin Kindelin

“Reaching out, touching me, touching you”…That’s a line from one of my favorite songs, Sweet Caroline. In days gone by, that lyric appealed to my romantic sense, but when I hear it today, it appeals to a sense of community. “Sweet Community,“ you might sing! It reminds me that we should be reaching out into our community to touch lives with the message of Jesus Christ and, in turn, touch our own lives. When we started Stronger Together, we made a commitment to increase our presence in our community. Our goal was, and is, to bring the Word of our Lord to its members through various activities, events, and outposts. In so doing, we strengthen not only the community, but ourselves as well.

Pastor Warren Schilf is heading up an effort unofficially tagged as Outreach Ministry. It’s been a busy summer. We held our third, you might as well call it annual, Shining Stars Baseball/Softball Camp this June. More than 100 boys and girls, ages 5-10 attended. Forty camp leaders, ranging from middle school age to elder statesman, lent their knowledge and skills to teaching our youngsters about this great pastime of ours and how Jesus is in charge of everything in our lives, including baseball and softball. Fifty percent of the attendees were not affiliated with Immanuel. The thought of seeds being planted comes to mind. It seems fitting because even the fields were unplayable due to recent rain (needed to make seeds grow). It’s a good thing our own member, Larry Link who owns Batting Benny’s Batting Cages, allowed us to use his facility the last two days of the week in order to keep the camp going.

We marched (walked, rode, and drove) in the Palatine Independence Day Parade once again. Nearly 30 participants carried Immanuel banners, passed out American flags, and provided candy for the parade watchers. The highlight of our parade entry was a vintage John Deere tractor, driven by owner, Warren Glawe with a trailer hitched to the back.

On July 27th, Immanuel took it to the parking lot for the Community Meal where we grilled hot dogs and burgers serving 218 meals. Tim Schmitt, Lorrie Wildman, and team created delicious garden and fruit salads to make our meal healthy. Scrumptious, not-so-healthy desserts were provided by Immanuel members.

Thanks to the caring efforts of Deaconess Suzanne Fingerle, we learned that an elderly widow in our congregation needed major structural work done on her house, along with many interior updates. Deaconess Suzanne partnered with our member and John Siegmeier, who is a professional contractor, to get this work done. Many volunteers pitched in to help the family clear out the house in preparation for the work, which included spackling and patching walls, painting the entire house’s ceilings and walls, updating the kitchen, and refinishing the hardwood floors.

Through our partnership in Kid’s Hope with Virginia Lakes Elementary School, we were able to provide nearly 50 donated backpacks filled with school supplies to students at this school who are in need of these items. Twenty of those backpacks were handed out at the Backpacks, Blessings, and Barbecue at the Bandshell on August 13th. The Bobcat Blitz combined forces with the barbecue this year when approximately 40 runners joined the more than 250 barbecue attendees after the race for a wonderful day of exercise, worship, blessings, and great food.

As with every ministry at Immanuel, room does not allow me to cover everything Outreach Ministry does. Volunteers are desperately needed to make it work. Contact the church office or Pastor Warren to see how you can contribute.

“Sweet Community… good times never seemed so good!” You don’t even need to know the song to get that!