MASS CITY - St. Paul's Lutheran Church of Mass City is working year-round to reach out to the world and better local communities.
The small church has a group of dedicated quilters who meet each Wednesday for fellowship, food and quilting. The group makes quilts together to donate to various local and worldwide organizations.
"While the number of quilters varies week to week, their yearly production of 80 to 90 quilts is pretty steady - 88 units were shipped this year," parishioner Ken Raisanen said. In 2013, quilts were donated to people in Ontonagon County communities, Aspirus Ontonagon Hospital, the Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter Home in Calumet, Omega House in Houghton and Lutheran World Relief.
The church's Souper Community Meal entered its second year this month. The monthly event is a fresh, homemade meal prepared by volunteers coordinated by James Michie, served to all attendees on the third Monday of each month.
"The meals are absolutely free and there is an ongoing debate as to who gets the greater benefit from this fellowship - the folks who come to enjoy the meal or those who gather to plan and execute the monthly menu," Raisanen said. The church has served 643 meals since the tradition began.
The church hosts monthly coffee socials, which began in 2008. Attendees donate a free-will offering which benefits the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Malaria Net Project. "As of February 2014, $13,058 has been raised to help our companion synod in Tanzania," Raisanen said.
St. Paul's Lutheran began collecting loose change each Sunday for a program called "Simple Gifts" in fall 2007. "This money is periodically donated to the Ontonagon County Food Pantry or winter heating fund to help our friends and neighbors," Raisanen said. "Since 2007, $4,276 has been sent to St. Vincent de Paul's, which administers the funds," he said.