LCMS ministries get Wheat Ridge grants

Two LCMS ministries — one providing after-school support for children and another that cares for cancer patients — have received grants from Wheat Ridge Ministries.

The grants are among six, totaling $166,000, that were awarded by Wheat Ridge Ministries. “We are very pleased to fund these very different models of newwheat-new-new.gif ministry,” said Brian Becker, vice president for ministry programs. “While we are in very challenging and uncertain times, these ministries are taking the needed steps to serve their local community through their faith in Jesus Christ.”

In Garden City, N.Y., Resurrection Lutheran Church received $16,000 to assist at its new church plant, “THE LIFE,” in Old Westbury. The grant will underwrite snacks, educational trips, and food preparation for “Thursdays at THE LIFE,” which include an after-school program, dinner, and worship. “THE LIFE” uses the facilities of the former Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, which merged with Resurrection in order to begin new ministries.

On Thursdays, after-school volunteers work with third- through fifth-grade students from the Westbury School District, providing homework help, snacks, crafts, and recreation. “THE LIFE” invites parents and members of the community for a free meal on Thursday evenings, followed by a worship service. The ministry also operates a preschool at the location and plans to open a licensed day care center there.

The best way to reach out with the message of God’s love was to meet community needs, according to Laura Bauer, who oversees the after-school program. “After-school activities were a need in this school district,” she said. “Children needed to be nurtured and mentored.” “THE LIFE” offered a Spanish-language vacation Bible school in July and scheduled an English language VBS in August.

In Chicago, Phil’s Friends, a ministry to cancer patients, received a $45,000 Wheat Ridge grant to add a part-time volunteer coordinator as the ministry expands with chapters in other areas of the United States. Providing support and comfort, volunteers distribute care packages containing helpful items, including Christian materials, to cancer patients. Other volunteers send cards and provide prayer support for patients and their families.

“We provide Christ-centered support to those affected by cancer,” explained Philip Zielke, who founded the organization following two personal bouts with cancer. Zielke, a teacher at Trinity Lutheran School in Roselle, Ill., said Phil’s Friends has applied to become a LCMS Recognized Service Organization.

On the Web site, www.philsfriends.org, Zielke writes, “Lifting up cancer patients in prayer is the most effective and powerful way that we can help.” He also writes, “The bottom line of our faith-based charity is to support and bring as many people as possible to Christ and ultimately salvation. For those who are sick and are looking for a place to turn, they need the comfort, peace, and joy only God can provide.”

Posted July 29, 2009 

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