Church celebrates 50 years of giving

By: Terry Oparka, | Troy Times | Published September 24, 2014

Lutheran Church of the Master, located on Coolidge, just north of Big Beaver, started with a couple dozen members in 1964 in the Poppleton School, a structure built in 1877.

The church has been at its present location, on Crooks, north of Big Beaver, since ’67. Extensive renovations were completed at the church two years ago.

While the congregation has been continually involved in many ongoing community initiatives — such as Troy People Concerned and Grace Centers of Hope  — to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the church, “we wanted to do more in the community,” said church pastor Paul Walters.

 Members of the Lutheran Church of the Master and volunteers make sure each ingredient in each of the meals is correct before sealing the bags.

Members of the Lutheran Church of the Master and volunteers make sure each ingredient in each of the meals is correct before sealing the bags.

Photo by Victoria Zegler

To that end, 100 people, including 40 parishioners and 60 volunteers — along with financial support from Thrivent Financial — packaged 10,000 meals for the organization Kids Against Hunger Sept. 20.

According to the organization’s website, the mission of the group is to “significantly reduce the number of hungry children in the USA and to feed starving children throughout the world.”

The Kids Against Hunger approach is to ship packaged meals of a vitamin-fortified soy-rice casserole, said Greg Ulmer, community engagement leader for Thrivent Financial.

The meals feature all nine of the essential amino acids required for adequate nutrition and require boiling water to prepare, Ulmer said.

The meals will be transported to a facility in the area, then shipped, likely by the U.S. armed forces, overseas, Ulmer said.

Other church 50th anniversary initiatives partner with the Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers, Forgotten Harvest, Macomb County Habitat for Humanity, as well as tutoring and mentoring at-risk youth at Baker Middle School.

Walters said the individual parishioners were involved with these outreach projects before the church’s 50th anniversary, and Baker Middle School Principal Audra Melton is a parishioner at the church.

Fred Tarazi, chair of serving ministries at the church, said teams came up with the initiatives in celebration of the church’s anniversary.

He said that for the Sept. 20 food-packing event, parishioners’ family members, friends and co-workers pitched in.

“Each team leader for the food packaging came up with 12 people,” Walters said. “This helps us branch out. They (the volunteers) are contributing so much to the effort.”

For information about Kids Against Hunger, visit www.kids against hunger.org.