Lutheran women 'Play in Peoria'

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

This week, Peoria will host its largest convention in history – the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League.  With roughly 5,000 members registered to attend the 34th Biennial Convention Thursday through Sunday at the Peoria Civic Center, the group will create an estimated economic impact of more than $2 million.

“The Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, along with our area hospitality partners, are both pleased and honored to welcome the national convention of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League to the Peoria area this week,” said Bob Marx, President and CEO of the Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.  “While hosting this distinguished group – the largest group ever to hold a meeting in the Peoria area – is an economic windfall for our entire area, it will also show that the Peoria area can face-off with other national convention destination cities and host groups and events of all sizes.”

On the first day of the convention, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, members will participate in on-site “servant activities” to aid organizations in and around Peoria.  Making fleece blankets, welcome and care kits, Braille books of the Bible, Meals on Wheels gospel lids, quilts, wordless gospel tracts, gospel bracelets and turning old hotel sheets into bandages are just a sampling of the work the women will perform. At 9:15 a.m. Friday, children of LWML attendees will deliver the fleece blankets tied Thursday to Peoria Rescue Ministries, 601 SW Adams St.

In addition, several agencies in Peoria and around the world have been chosen to receive Gifts from the Heart, which are quilts and care kits, consisting of toiletry items, for men, women and children.  Convention participants will fill the bed of a semi-truck with the donations.  Those gifts will then be given to homeless shelters and victims of disasters, such as tornadoes, earthquakes, floods and fires.

“I anticipate that the generous and caring LWML women gathered for the convention in Peoria will do their very best to ‘stuff the truck,’” said LWML President Janice Wendorf.  “With all the recent natural disasters, the need for these items is great."

At 7 p.m. Thursday, the convention’s opening worship service will be delivered by Dr. Ken Klaus, Emeritus Speaker of the Lutheran Hour.  The public is welcome to attend the service.  Keynote speaker Deb Burma will motivate Lutheran Women in Mission at 2 p.m. Friday to live out the convention theme, Being with Jesus – Living on the Edge.  At 7:30 p.m. Friday, Katie Stam, Miss America 2009, will inspire the congregation.  Sibling Harmony, a Midwest musical trio, will share their original Christian songs at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.  Wendorf will preside over the convention.