First Free Rockford book spotlight recommendation header image

Book Spotlight, September 2019

Here are two book recommendations from Pastor Luke Uran related to First Free Rockford’s current sermon series:

 

Life in Community by Dustin Willis

Our current sermon series plays off this book. We are recommending it for Life Groups and for anyone who wants to dig further into the question of what community looks like for 21st century Christians. The chapters are simple and relatable. Willis includes practical suggestions on how to put principles into action.

This past Sunday, Pastor Luke referenced Willis’ chapter, “Your Best at the Table.” First Free Rockford offers a free, online spiritual gifts assessment. This is an excellent starting point if you’re not sure where you fit. But, as Pastor Luke mentioned, it’s a starting point, not a final conclusion. Willis writes:

“The best tool for discerning your spiritual gifts is not a test, but the body of Christ. There you will find out what you bring to the table. As others to speak into your life and be willing to listen to their insight. Ask them to observe where they see God using you most significantly.” (page 72)

The book is available in The Scroll Resource Center for $8, which is better than you can do on Amazon. There’s also a free Leader’s Guide download available from Moody Publishers. Life groups who study this book will find unusual depth in the group questions.

 

Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Bonhoeffer was a German pastor and anti-Nazi dissident. He wrote Life Together while part of the underground Christian community during World War II. Accused of being part of a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Bonhoeffer was hanged in a Nazi concentration camp in 1945.

His thoughts about prayer, worship, work and service remain thoroughly relevant today. A sample:

A Christian fellowship lives and exists by the intercession of its members for one another, or it collapses. I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me. His face, that hitherto may have been strange and intolerable to me, is transformed in intercession into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died, the face of a forgiven sinner.” 

 

For kids: Go deeper into science with …

 

Indescribable: 100 Devotions About God and Science by Louie Giglio.

If you and your kids or grandkids enjoyed The Amazing Chemistry Show last month at First Free, here’s a follow-up resource. The book contains fascinating facts and hands-on activities, all with a devotional approach. Topics include space, earth, animals and the human body. The regular price is $17.99 but you can get it in The Scroll for $11.99.

The Scroll Resource Center is open from 8 a.m. to noon on Sundays, 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursdays.

Mickey Mouse only real when shared

By Jim Killam | Illustration by Nathan McDonald

As a newspaper reporter, I once attended a media event at Walt Disney World. We journalists would attend morning press conferences about new rides and attractions, and then the rest of the day was our own.

For three days, I was treated like a Disney princess. I could ride any ride, see any show, eat at any restaurant … all on Mickey Mouse’s dime.

The catch was, I was by myself.

Even Walt had a mouse to pal around with here.

There is a definite place in life for solitude. That place is a long way from Walt Disney World. As I watched Indiana Jones blow up an airplane, rode Space Mountain in the dark or got dropped from the Tower of Terror, I’d never felt more uncomfortably isolated. I’d get off the rides with hundreds of people and there would be no one to talk with, laugh with … even barf with.

I’d just had exactly the same experience as all of those happy, laughing people around me, but all I felt was alone and self-conscious — and that I definitely shouldn’t walk anywhere near small kids. I know solo travel has become a big thing, and maybe it works for some. No rules, no compromises, no agenda but your own. For me, the experience was just … empty. I couldn’t wait to go home, and to come back later with people I love. 

Leaving it all behind

In the true 1996 book and 2007 movie, Into the Wild, Christopher McCandless graduates from college, disillusioned with materialistic society. He leaves home without telling anyone where he’s going, gives away everything he has and embarks on a solo quest to find meaning and purpose. That leads to random stops around the country, all with an eventual goal: Alaska. The ultimate wilderness.

Paramount Pictures

Before embarking on the last leg of his journey north, Chris tells his friend, Ron Franz: “You are wrong if you think that the joy of life comes principally from the joy of human relationships. God’s place is all around us. It is in everything and in anything we can experience. People just need to change the way they look at things.”

Near the end of the film, Chris’ opinion has changed. His rejection of family, church and society has left him dangerously alone. To find himself, by himself, has been no answer. Facing starvation in the Alaskan wilderness, he writes in the margin of the book, Doctor Zhivago: “Happiness only real when shared.”

Church and elder brothers

During a time of family struggle a few years ago, we stepped away from church and small groups for a few months. We felt defeated, disillusioned and let down. A holy discontent, we reasoned. Church felt less like a close community of believers and more like one continuous argument over worship and preaching styles.

So we just stopped going. I never came close to abandoning my faith, but church felt empty. For the time being, the thought of just God, me, a Bible and a journal sounded pretty attractive.

Chris McCandless’ story haunted me those months away from church. What did my faith mean apart from the messiness of community? Did this all really just begin and end in my own head? What’s the end game in loving God but not the church?

Around that time I also read Timothy Keller’s book, The Prodigal God, in which he drew on Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son. Churches can be so unpleasant, he wrote, because we can see them as being filled with elder brothers — self-righteous, jealous, graceless jerks. Yet when I stayed away because of that, I had to come to grips with my own self-righteous jerkiness.

Keller also said this:

“There is no way you will be able to grow spiritually apart from a deep involvement in a community of other believers. You can’t find the Christian life without a band of Christian friends, without a family of believers in which you find a place.”

Long story short: We didn’t stay away for long. In fact, not long after we came back to the church, we felt God’s call to missions. Loving God but not the church had left me with an incomplete faith, and fewer people to share it with. Holy discontent didn’t stay holy for very long.

This month, First Free Rockford is engaging with a sermon series called Life in Community. Whether we’re married, single or widowed, it does us all good to realize community is where we thrive. God placed us in community to worship, grow and serve together — not to ride life’s roller coasters alone.

Views expressed on this blog are those of the writer alone. References to films, music or other works should not be considered an endorsement by First Free Rockford.

 

Meet Kari Heckler

By Jim Killam | Illustration by Nathan McDonald

This summer, as Kari Heckler debated whether to apply for the position of First Free Kids Director, she asked God to give her a sign.

“That’s not me,” she says of the request. “I’m very factual about stuff.”

She drove her son, Spencer, to his summer job at Summit Ministries near Colorado Springs, and then spent a few extra days in the mountains by herself. Each day, she drove by a church with its name carved into a huge stone slab: First Evangelical Free Church.

“I looked at that and I thought, well, that’s a sign.”

During those days in the mountains, Kari set a goal of ascending the Manitou Incline, which climbs 2,000 feet in about a mile. The trail used to be part of the Pike’s Peak Cog Railway until the track bed was washed out by a 1990 rockslide. Since then it has served as a fitness challenge for hikers and runners.

A year ago, Kari could hardly walk due to problems in both Achilles tendons. A year before that, she went blind for a month when her optic nerve swelled. This year, she left a youth ministry position at another Rockford church, thinking it was time to step away from church work — what she calls “The Machine.”

Now in Colorado’s thin air, somehow she was hiking up the Incline’s nearly 3,000 steps, passing much younger hikers who were doubled over and vomiting. When she reached her target point along the trail, she looked out on the incredible beauty below and felt very small. It was one of those God moments.

The Manitou Incline in Manitou Springs, Colorado

“I felt like I had my strength and my joy in the Lord back,” she says. “I felt like I let go with my fists of some things that I needed to put behind me. Health issues, spiritual things, just to know that God can help us get up those mountains. I couldn’t have done it myself. I know I couldn’t have.

“And the Lord just spoke to me so clearly: ‘You’ve got to let it go. You’ll be fine. I’m not done with you yet. You need to get back into the Machine and go.’ And there was just this strength that came: spiritually, emotionally, physically.”

When Kari got home, she sent her resume to First Free and things moved quickly from there. She started as Kids Director on Sept. 3. Even before she knew she got the job, she thought about two particular pieces of décor for her office: a photo showing the steps of the Manitou Incline, and another showing “First Evangelical Free Church” carved into that stone.

“If I ever have a rough day and feel overwhelmed, I can look at that picture and remember that God brought me here.”

Getting to know Kari Heckler

Family

Married to Chris for 33 years. They met at Sterling High School. Six kids: Skyler, 31; Shaylee, 27; Sedric, 23; Shane, 21; Spencer, 21; and Sierra, 17.

Four of the kids are adopted. Kari had a rocky childhood, and her own experience steered her and Chris toward adoption, foster care and ministry with at-risk kids.

The Heckler family (L to R): Shane, Sierra, Spencer, Shaylee, Sedric, Kari and Chris (Skyler pictured below)

Skyler, 31, serves in the U.S. Navy.

Faith

Kari and Chris both came to Christ right after they got married.

Ministry work

  • YWCA, Sterling – Children of Domestic Violence program
  • Metro Christian Center, Rockford – director of nursery, then youth pastor
  • Managed Bible Book Center in Rockford
  • New City (now called Gracepoint) Gospel Fellowship outside New York City – preschool ministry, children’s church
  • Rock Church, Rockford – youth ministry director

Approach

(The Kids director oversees programs for preschool through grade 5)

“The main thing is kids need to know the Lord as their savior. That is why we do this. The way to get to that with this age group is to be very biblically driven and teach them doctrine, so they can stand on the Word of God.”

“Whether it’s with teenagers or children, I’m more relational. I’m going to try to get to know them. Sit down and play with Legos with them at the beginning. I don’t stand back and watch.”

“In every ministry I’ve worked in, I’ve been more like an aunt than a teacher or a pastor. Like I’m an extended part of their family. And I’d like to see the whole church feel that way to them. When they come to First Free, they feel like they’re home.”

Culture

“I have a very strong conviction with our fourth and fifth graders to remember that they are more like high schoolers used to be, in terms of how much they are exposed to. Sexuality and sexual identity – kids are being indoctrinated. Also issues like self-esteem and self-harm. We need to address those topics with them younger. I hate that, but I also know it’s one reason I’ve been called to children’s ministry. We cannot put our heads in the sand. Kids today live in a totally different world than we did.”

Parents

“I’m excited that First Free is going to be having a parenting seminar. I wish drop-and-run parents could be a thing of the past. They can be part of this, too. I hope to see the parents committed to their kids having a Christian education here.”

Leaders

Provide mentoring opportunities for leaders to have consistent relationships with the kids, especially through small groups as the kids get older.

Youth leaders

“One thing I love about Summerama is that kids help in ministry and serving. Because that’s where they’re going to learn. If you tell them to prepare a lesson, that’s where they’re going to learn.”

Kari’s Favorites

Food: Brownies with a lot of frosting; pizza
Band: Switchfoot
Movie: Star Wars (the original)

 

Church music for a new century

By Jim Killam | Illustration by Nathan McDonald

This summer’s “1 Hit Wonders” sermon series got me thinking about the term’s origin. It refers to any singer or band that produced a single popular song, then was forgotten. Think: The Macarena. Think: Who Let the Dogs Out?

Over the next day and a half while you’re trying to get those songs out of your head (sorry), think about Christian worship music, why we sing the songs we do in church and how many of those songs will be remembered years from now. Differences of opinion about church music might seem like a purely modern discussion. Hardly. 

 

Pastor Luke Teaching in the One Hit Wonders Series

Pastor Luke teaching in the “1 Hit Wonders” series

Rediscovering a timeless perspective

Recently, I happened upon a box of old books. One red-covered volume particularly caught my eye: How to Promote and Conduct a Successful Revival, edited by R.A. Torrey and published in 1901. Torrey was a ministry partner of Dwight L. Moody and a key figure in the early days of Chicago’s Moody Bible Institute.

Thumbing through this brittle, old book, I stopped on the chapter called Music in a Revival, by Daniel B. Towner. Towner wrote Trust and Obey and dozens of other hymns. He was music director for several churches and finally at Moody from 1893 to 1919.

Here’s what Towner recommended as the 20th century dawned.  It’s a 381-word paragraph, which would have gotten me kicked out of journalism school. But stick with it. Let his thoughts simmer. I’ve bolded a couple of key sentences.

Towner’s recommendation

“While great care should be exercised in the selection of music for revival meetings, yet one must not be hypercritical about new songs. About twenty years ago a committee of literary men and musicians were compiling a denominational hymnbook, and certain hymns and tunes were rejected as not being of a high enough order. But to-day those same hymns and tunes are being used in all denominational books as they are revised and compiled, and have proven by their vitality that they belong among the classics. If a tune is well-written, no matter how simple, don’t be afraid to try it. If a hymn does not teach error, direct or implied, don’t be afraid to give it a trial; but if it does, no matter what its literary merit may be, let it alone. Let it be distinctly understood that we are not opposed to the use of old hymns, not by any means, for quite the contrary is the case. We believe that the good old hymns are the heritage of the church, and should be regarded as such, and that they should be sacredly kept and perpetuated, and that each successive generation should be taught to sing them well, but to hold on to these to the exclusion of the new ones would be a calamity. As new men come on the scene, they embody the truth into new hymns, and it gives a freshness just the same as is the case with a new sermon, and new tunes awaken new interest in these themes, such as the old ones do not. As we become familiar with a tune, it gradually loses its power with us, even though we never become tired of it. But the new tune arrests the attention, and gives the truth it carries a chance to enter the heart. Some people seem to outlive their usefulness, while others never do. It is just so with songs. There are those that should be in every selection, and there are others that seem to have been embalmed, as it were, and laid away in the denominational books which are never used. We do not object, they have served well no doubt, now let them rest in peace, while others come on and do service in their turn.”

What a great, balanced viewpoint. We honor and sing the old hymns as “the heritage of the church,” while also realizing that new songs and styles may strike us with biblical truth from a slightly different and fresher angle.

Book Cover for How to Promote and Conduct a Successful Revival
Book Cover for "How to Promote and Conduct a Successful Revival"

As new men come on the scene, they embody the truth into new hymns, and it gives a freshness just the same as is the case with a new sermon, and new tunes awaken new interest in these themes, such as the old ones do not.

“Heretical Flapdoodle” or “We’ll be singing this in heaven”?

There’s a lot to sift through. If you google “worship songs with bad theology” or “hymns with bad theology,” grab a Snickers bar (or an artisanal kale cupcake if you prefer) because you’re not going anywhere for a while. The same hymn or worship song can evoke a wide range of opinion, from “heretical flapdoodle” to “we’ll be singing this in heaven.”

 

Church music is for every generation.

Every generation produces a vast catalog of songs that are quickly forgotten, and a few that live on. That’s how music works, from Mozart to the Macarena or from Charles Wesley to Hillsong United. A hymnal or worship songbook amounts to a Greatest Hits collection, and even from those, we sing only a tiny fraction. We’ll find some of today’s worship music in tomorrow’s songbooks. Most — even some pretty good songs — will wind up on the flapdoodle pile, alongside most of the hymns written generations ago. Some might even be rediscovered and rescued.

 

Audience Participation

Which leads to our audience-participation question: Of the worship songs and hymns composed in the past two decades, which ones will people still be singing 100 years from now? And why? Send us your comments. No flapdoodle, please.

Patriotic Celebration marks 50th milestone

Our annual Patriotic Celebration received more buzz than ever this year as we celebrated 50 years of honoring our military heroes and thanking God for the true freedom we have in Jesus Christ.

To help recognize the big milestone, we invited all former choir and orchestra directors back for the celebration. We’ve had six directors in total during that time:

  • Bruce Erickson (1970-1983)
  • Otis Skillings (1984-1989)
  • Doug Thiesen (1990-1998)
  • Renee Cooper (1999 to 2001)
  • Kristyn Thor (2002)
  • Eric Walker (2003-2007)
  • Renee Cooper (2008 to present)

Renee Cooper, who serves as our classic worship director, was our director again this year and is the longest-serving director in the group. Bruce Erickson, our first director, attended this year’s festivities, and a few others were unable to attend but did send us videos sharing wonderful memories of the event.

According to Bruce, Patriotic Celebration started in 1970 as a way to bring together a divided country/community during the Vietnam War. It was a positive offering and initially took place at the Sinnissippi Park Music Shell – sometimes after the Fourth of July and sometimes in June. The celebration began with one night, was eventually expanded to three nights, and then scheduled for two nights once it moved to the current First Free Rockford main campus.

In addition to special outreach for past directors, we also invited all former choir and orchestra participants to celebrate with us this year. We had people join us from many states, including Texas, Florida, Michigan and South Carolina. More than 200 volunteers total helped organize and participated in the event, and over 2,100 people attended the celebration performances.

The color guards from the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department and the Rockford Police Department presented the colors both nights, and our procession of veterans was once again a highlight for the crowd. A freewill offering collected during the program are being divided between three local veterans’ nonprofits: The Veteran’s Drop-in Center, the Oscar Mike Foundation and Brightening Veteran’s Lives (Vietnam Veterans of America – Chapter 984 Rockford).

Mom’s Day Out a longtime resource for Rockford-area families

Mom’s Day Out — a special ministry for children and families at First Free Rockford — celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

The ministry started as a pilot program in 1989, created as a part-time, Christ-centered child care resource for parents. Three decades ago, moms mostly did the sign-up, but today, fathers and even grandparents are involved in the program, too.

“We’re seeing second generations coming through now,” said Patti Clauson, Mom’s Day Out Director.

Patti has been here since the beginning. She said a First Free member first saw a similar program in the south back in the 1980s and brought the idea back to Rockford.

Mom’s Day Out classroom at First Free Rockford – Rockford, Illinois

Families today can enroll their children starting at 1-year through pre-kindergarten age from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays and/or Fridays.

Mom’s Day Out is open to anyone in the community – not just church members. Patti said the program draws people from all backgrounds, including families from outside the U.S. who have relocated to Rockford to work in such industries as aerospace, manufacturing and health care.

Patti Clauson, Director of Mom’s Day Out

“What’s so cool is we’ll have moms who don’t know anyone in town, so they seek out a church that will be a safe place. After a few years, they’ve got play groups, the kids are enrolled in summer day camp,” Patti said. “Our goal is to bridge families from not knowing anyone to finding a home and an extended family here.”

About 120 children attend Mom’s Day Out each day. Bible-based learning aims to teach kids about good values such as sharing, helping each other, comforting a friend and much more. A typical day may include songs, counting, learning days of the week, crafts, a Bible story, and playing in the gym or on the playground.

Crucial to the program’s success has been the ongoing help of church staff and members who volunteer their time to help with activities. Mom’s Day Out also employs more than 20 teachers, meaning it’s a good opportunity for educators looking for an alternative to full-time work.

That’s how Patti got started, in fact. She was a teacher looking for care for her young daughter at the time. She started teaching, then became assistant director and then director.

“It was all God’s planning,” she said. “This is where I was meant to be.”

Mom’s Day Out runs a similar schedule to the school year calendar, starting the week after Labor Day and ending the week before Memorial Day. Registration for the next session starts in May. Visit momsdayout.net for more information, or call 815-877-7046.

Big Day of Serving promotes importance of giving back

Registration is now live for First Free Rockford’s Big Day of Serving, a special time dedicated to volunteering and community connection.

First Free has partnered this year with the Rockford Park District, the Rockford Rescue Mission and Rockford Public Schools to help with cleanup and maintenance work at several locations. Volunteers will gather from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 18, at Sinnissippi Park, the Rescue Mission and the STEAM Academy at Haskell for the work.

This annual event is open to the public and typically draws more than 150 people to help. It’s a great opportunity to invite family, friends and neighbors to participate, and it also emphasizes the importance of serving, which is central to First Free’s mission and vision.

“We see the value in partnering with our community to go, tell and show the love of God in the city of Rockford and around the world,” said Meredith Domanico, First Free’s director of student ministries and organizer of Big Day of Serving.

“It’s important to give back, and Big Day of Serving creates an opportunity to do that, to defeat the apathy of just being here and letting things happen around us. This is a chance to be part of something, to take ownership of the place where we live and do our part to help make it beautiful.”

Site leaders will oversee the work at each location. Domanico said there are jobs for anyone who’s interested in signing up no matter your skillset or physical abilities.

Click here to register for Big Day of Serving times, locations and T-shirt sizes. Volunteers are asked to wear closed-toe shoes and casual/work clothes, and bring work gloves. All other equipment will be provided at the individual sites.

Call First Free Rockford at 815-877-7046 for more information.

New Faces Meredith Domanico

New faces at First Free: Meredith Domanico

First Free Rockford is pleased to welcome Meredith Domanico as its new Director of Student Ministries.

Meredith has worked in student ministries for nearly 13 years. She grew up in Libertyville and is looking to relocate to the Rock River Valley as she settles in at First Free. Meredith is married to her husband, Matt, and they have a 13-year-old son, Antonio.

She earned her marketing degree at DePaul University and worked in radio for several years. Additionally, she helped manage a hair salon owned by her sister.

In transitioning to church work, Meredith said, “The Lord just opened a door to ministry.” She started volunteering with students in junior high and high school through her former home church, The Chapel campus in McHenry. That work led to her becoming the student ministries pastor, and her love of working with church members in that younger age range has continued to develop.

“What I love about student ministries is it’s such a real environment. There’s such a desire to be known and in the community together, and to be vulnerable and authentic with each other,” she said. “They ask the hard questions. Once they’re comfortable, they take risks, worship without abandon and invite their friends. I love how we have the opportunity to be the place that looks different than the hallways at school.”

Her involvement with church intensified after college. She recalled attending a Saturday night service many years ago and hearing the voice of God say, “You’ve been coming (to church) – now it’s time to give.”

She was attracted to First Free through interactions with senior leadership, and she was looking for a new challenge.

“I was comfortable where I was at. But God doesn’t call us to be comfortable,” she said. “I met with the senior leadership team here, and we clicked really well. I’ve been letting God really direct me, and things kept getting more and more clear.”

She looks forward to helping build and create new directions for the youth program. “I love to mentor and disciple people, just do life together.”

In addition to regular Sunday and Wednesday student programming, you can find Meredith during her Around Town Tuesdays sessions at local coffee shops and restaurants. She’s doing them twice a month, and they’re a time for students to gather, do homework, and talk about life, school, Jesus – the format is wide open.

2019 Community Choir Festival

First Free Rockford Hosts Community Choir Festival Experience

Event caters to both singers and the public

ROCKFORD, Ill. (Feb. 7, 2019) – First Free Rockford invites singers and the public to worship through music and song during its annual Community Choir Festival taking place this month.

Singers, who need not have a choir affiliation, will practice together on Friday, Feb. 22, and Saturday, Feb. 23. They will then present a free concert that’s open to the public at 6 p.m. Feb. 23.

Dr. Gary Bonner, an internationally recognized conductor and trainer of conductors, will lead the rehearsals and the performance. First Free is excited to host the event to bring together singers from across the region, said festival coordinator Renee Cooper, First Free’s Classic Worship Director.

“Church choirs aren’t what they used to be – a reflection of the resources needed to run them and the amount of time people have to be part of them,” Cooper said. “We are so blessed to have a choir here at First Free, and we want to encourage anyone who loves to sing to be part of a choir again.”

Choir members will practice and learn about a dozen songs – a process Cooper called challenging, exciting and fun. Bonner chooses the music, which is typically a mix of traditional and contemporary Christian songs.

“It pushes people out of their comfort zones,” she noted of the experience. “You don’t have to be a great reader of music, though. It’s amazing what you pick up with the group around you. We laugh a lot, have fun and work hard.”

The event is expected to draw singers and attendees from around the Midwest. Rehearsals are scheduled from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Feb. 22 and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 23.

Rehearsals and the performance will take place at First Free Rockford, 2223 N. Mulford Road. Cost to participate as a singer is $30 for adults and $20 for students, which includes lunch on Saturday. Admission to the performance is free.

Register online at the EventBrite page. Call Renee Cooper at 815-877-7046 or email her with any questions.

Angel Tree Program: Giving the Gift of God’s Love

First Free Rockford is proudly participating in the Angel Tree program again this year, delivering gifts and the message of God’s love to children in the Rockford area whose parents are in prison during the holiday season.

Our church has participated in this program for more than 25 years in partnership with Prison Fellowship, a nonprofit Christian organization whose mission is to restore those affected by crime and incarceration. There are more than 2.7 million U.S. children who have a mom or dad in prison, according to the organization, and churches and community organizations throughout the country have already committed to serving more than 275,000 kids this year.

Angel Tree Coordinator Susan Schumacher, a Belvidere resident who’s been attending First Free for nearly 30 years, found a personal connection in this project. She had a loved one in prison and saw the devastating effects an experience like that can have on families.

“We do this out of compassion for the children,” she said. “The program gives us an opportunity to share God’s love by helping to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the families of prisoners.”

You can help by picking a tag off the Angel Tree in our lobby. This year, we have 17 families with 45 children we’re helping. Each child will receive two gifts – an article of clothing and a toy or other fun gift, as well as an age-appropriate booklet about the gospel provided by Prison Fellowship. The families give us suggestions to help personalize the gifts even more.

Grab a tag, shop for gifts, wrap them and turn them in by Dec. 11. We’ll package the gifts on Dec. 12 and deliver them to families on Dec. 15. Let us know if you’d like to volunteer in any way. It’s a beautiful tradition we are excited to participate in again this year!