There’s a whole lot of love at Royal Redeemer Lutheran Church and School.
On Valentine’s Day, the church and school community celebrated “Love in Action Day,” with school students performing a heart-warming mix of service projects and church members baking, packaging and hand-delivering close to 2,000 cookies to 75 locations throughout North Royalton, Strongsville and Brunswick. The annual event has been a yearly occasion for nearly a decade.
“This is our joy-filled opportunity to ‘be the hands and feet of Jesus and show service and Christian love to others, for no other reason, but because he loved us so much,’” said Royal Redeemer Lutheran School Principal Heidi Malone, sharing a quote from the Bible.
In place of traditional classroom parties, students in preschool through eighth grade participated in a service project on Valentine’s Day, ranging from writing letters to service men and women to assembling care packages for the young patients of Akron Children’s Hospital, soup bowl kits for shut-ins, birthday kits for the local food pantry and toys and blanket kits for the Medina SPCA. Students worked with their teachers to come up with their individual classroom projects. Each project was unique, like the middle school sewing class who sewed pouches for orphaned kangaroos in Australia, and they each aimed to share and communicate God’s love.
Students in Carissa Hudock’s fourth-grade class assembled “prayer jars” for Lutheran Home containing a collection of uplifting Bible verses and prayers on small slips of colored paper. They also packed up crayons and coloring book kits for Akron Children’s Hospital, drafted bookmarks for the CLE Book Bank providing free books to children in need, and crafted handmade cards.
“The students are absolutely thrilled and so excited to help others see the light of God through service projects,” Hudock said. “They see that no matter what age they are, they have the ability to make a difference.”
At the church, 75 boxes of homemade cookies were hand-delivered to a range of community sites in North Royalton, Strongsville and Brunswick including police and fire stations, bus garages, assisted-living facilities, public libraries, city service departments and schools. Each box contained a hand-written Valentine’s Day card made by Royal Redeemer preschoolers and elementary children.
“Everyone is always so surprised and so grateful to be acknowledged,” said Senior Pastor John Zahrte. “Many of our recipients are hardly ever thanked for the work they do. This is a very simple way to say, ‘You matter,’ and to share the love of Christ.”
Royal Redeemer Lutheran Church and School is one of the biggest Lutheran congregations in the state, Malone said, and service to others is one of their main drivers. School children take on a different mission project each month, like this month’s project for Phil’s Friends, an organization that supports those affected by cancer.
“We teach our kids that God is love and that he calls us to love others,” Malone said. “‘Love in Action Day’ helps connect this all back to our faith and gives us the opportunity to tell others about God’s love. It also instills in our students a passion for service work that goes with them as they get older.”
Contributing Writer