Herald JournalHerald Journal, Sept. 26, 2005

Common mission joins area churches

By Liz Hellmann
Staff Writer

Several local churches, including St. John’s Lutheran Church of Howard Lake and St. Mary’s Catholic Church of Waverly are joining forces with other area churches to bring aid to those in need.

The group, called Love In the Name of Christ (INC) Heartland, celebrated the opening of its first office building in Delano, Sept. 15.

From its new building, Love INC Heartland will launch its mission to help those in need by providing food, clothing, furniture, and other needed services.

It is a project that began almost two and a half years ago with the desire of two area pastors to help people in need.

After researching a variety of options, Pastor Jim Beard of Delano United Methodist and Pastor Donna Anderson of Village Evangelical Free in Maple Plain saw an opportunity to join a national organization, Love INC.

“They felt called to start a ministry to help the needy in our area,” said Chris Schanus of Howard Lake.

Schanus serves on the board for Love INC Heartland. Nationally, there are more than 120 Love INC affiliates that help nearly 1 million people a year.

Love INC Heartland is one of those affiliates, and consists of 13 area churches, and six denominations.

“Part of the point of it was to get different denominations to work together,” Schanus said.

Love INC requires that an affiliate consist of at least 10 churches and represent six denominations.

The mission statement of Love INC Heartland is “to respond to our neighbors in need and to empower and transform our communities through the love of Christ.”

Love INC Heartland focuses on the local community, whereas other organizations can’t neccessarily.

“My experience is a lot of the traditional social services are overtaxed,” Schanus said.

Transportation to get to a place that can help can also be an issue, Schanus said.

Members of Love INC Heartland feel there is a need in the surrounding community, and wanted to give people somewhere to go.

“There are these hidden needs, and in a small community, people don’t necessarily want to show them,” Schanus said. “We don’t see people pushing shopping carts up and down the street, but people are crashing on couches because they have nowhere to go.”

Currently, Love INC Heartland is working to help people in need by providing furniture and clothing, and by adopting families to provide with food and presents during the holidays.

Love INC Heartland also works with people who knit, in order to provide bedding, hats, and gloves to those who can’t afford them.

People can visit the Delano office, located on Highway 12 about a half block north of the Dairy Queen Wednesday, and Friday, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. But they shouldn’t expect to walk out with exactly what they need, that day.

“We want to be good stewards of the resources people give to us,” Schanus said.

Love INC Heartland will listen to people, take down their information, evaluate their needs, and then provide them with what they can.

Other projects the organization is working on are to provide transportation to people, start a food shelf in Rockford, and start a housing mission.

“We’re just trying to be the hands and feet of Jesus,” Schanus said.

A video presentation and information is available for those wishing to join or volunteer.

Love INC Heartland is also working on providing a full time staff person for the office, in order to increase business hours.

Donations and contributions are welcomed. Call (763) 972-6547 for more information.

Churches that currently are members of Love INC Heartland are: St. Mary’s Catholic of Waverly, St. John’s Lutheran of Howard Lake, Delano Evangelical Free, Delano United Methodist, Light of Christ Lutheran and St. Paul’s United Church of Christ of Delano, Faith Community of Maple Plain, Maple Plain Community, Village Evangelical Free of Maple Plain, Our Father’s Lutheran and Riverwood Covenant of Rockford, Trinity Lutheran of Watertown, and Watertown Evangelical Free.

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