The Philadelphia Church in Des Moines, Iowa continues in their efforts to reach the community in various ways.

East Side Community Health Fair

This summer the Philadelphia Church participated in a joint effort with the Eastside Community Health Fair at the MLK Community Center. Church members, along with community members and various organizations, were present. Hy-Vee stores donated bags of utensils that are generally used to prepare vegetables for healthy meals, and healthy snacks were available for people to take as samples. Salad vegetables were available on tables so that people could put together their own combination of salads.

A representative from the Polk County Board of Health said, “I’ve never seen so many kids enjoy eating salad,” adding that she was looking forward to coming back for future events. In addition to the food, a nurse was present screening Biometrics. This was also the first time the Eastside community was able to see Philadelphia Church’s Community Garden.

Promoting the health message

This year marks the second season of the Philadelphia Community Garden. Many members came out and planted, plowed, watered and worked very hard to put together this wonderful garden!

Though the garden is housed on Philadelphia’s property, it is not just for members; it’s for the community. Every Thursday, approximately 25 kids from the community come over to the garden to learn about gardening. Pastor Keith Hackle Jr. began the first session with a question to the children: “Who’s garden is this?”

“Yours,” they responded.

“Wrong; this is your garden!” he corrected.

At the end of the session, Pastor Hackle repeated the same question: “Who’s garden is this?” to which the children replied with a resounding “Ours!”

Come Out and Play Day

Also this summer, Philadelphia Church hosted its first annual Come Out and Play Day. Intended to serve as an information session for the soon-coming youth center, the event gathered some 30 children on the lawn of the church, and later in the church basement for a day of fun and recreation. The children and adults were divided into two teams and had a fun time mingling and competing throughout the day.

Of the children who attended, nearly 50 percent were non-church members. Some arrived with other church members but a large percentage responded to invitations from the pastor and members. After an amazing brunch, the day consisted of team-oriented activities including soccer, basketball, football, Ping-Pong, musical chairs and a host of other games.

Taking it to the streets

For three years weekly Bible studies have been held at the Central Iowa Homeless Shelter in downtown Des Moines by Elder Derek Covington, personal ministries activity outreach leader. Pastor Hackle joined Elder Covington in the study of God’s Word as members of the church and residents of the shelter gather every Monday for Bible study.

Elder Maurice LaMay has been ministering to the residents at the Rehabilitation Center Nursing Home for more than 10 years where he, along with Elder Evielean Thomas and Sister Belle Taylor, brings songs, the Word of God, personal prayer and treats to the residents. Elder Covington is in his sixth year of bringing the Word to the Union Park Nursing Home residents.

Sharon Tate is a member of the Philadelphia Church in Des Moines, Iowa.