Fun was the name of the game for Jesus Cares Ministries

Photo by Deb Gau Arts and crafts were some of the activities local residents could do at the summer picnic held by Jesus Cares Ministries at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church on Thursday.

MARSHALL — The weather might have moved everyone indoors, but that didn’t mean the party had to stop. The people gathering at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church on Thursday were having fun doing crafts, playing beanbag golf or even joining on some oversized board games.

A summer picnic has become an annual tradition for Jesus Cares Ministries at Christ Evangelical Lutheran, said coordinator Melanie Werner. The ministry holds Bible classes and other events for people with developmental or intellectual disabilities through most of the year.

“It’s like a mini Vacation Bible School,” with activities, crafts and plenty of singing, Werner said. This week, Jesus Cares Ministries held its year-end celebration with an indoor picnic and potluck supper.

“It’s for a wider group of people,” Werner said of the event. In addition to class members, people from around the community were invited, including family, friends and caregivers of disabled people.

The games and activities at the picnic were ones anybody could join in on. In one corner of the church basement, players took turns at a giant game of Kerplunk. Dowels stuck through a wire cage were holding up a pile of colored plastic balls. One at a time, players pulled out dowels and hoped they wouldn’t make the balls fall.

Besides fun and fellowship, church members said the Jesus Cares ministry at Christ Evangelical Lutheran was a way to reach out and share God’s love.

“That’s something we want to share,” said the Rev. Keith Schreiner, as he welcomed people to the potluck meal.

“We try to build and nurture friendships,” Werner said of the ministry and the community events it holds.

At Thursday’s picnic, Werner was also sharing information about upcoming events through the larger Jesus Cares Ministries organization. JCM is a ministry of the Lutheran Home Association in Belle Plaine. Werner said Jesus Cares Ministries will be holding fall camps, one in Waterville in September, and one in Spicer in October.

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