Duluth church feast to help Philippines reliefA Duluth church is responding to the typhoon that cut a destructive path through the Philippines on Nov. 8 with a fundraising dinner today.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
A Duluth church is responding to the typhoon that cut a destructive path through the Philippines on Nov. 8 with a fundraising dinner today.
Peace United Church of Christ already had planned an event for today marking its relationship with a group of churches in the Philippines, said Melissa Kadlec, a member of the church’s global ministries committee.
But in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, which killed at least 5,500 people and destroyed around $563 million worth of crops and infrastructure, Kadlec said she thought the Dec. 1 date was the ideal time to do something bigger.
“It seemed to be a perfect fit,” Kadlec said.
So following this morning’s worship service, the community is invited to a traditional Filipino dinner and music in the church’s fellowship hall from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The price is a freewill offering, with all donations going to the United Church of Christ in the Philippines and local Filipino families.
Samantha Ziegelmann, who moved to Duluth from the Philippines in 2007, is one of about 60 Filipinos in the Duluth area, she said on Saturday.
Ziegelmann already was working on Saturday to prepare the meal. About seven Filipinos are preparing the feast, which will include such dishes as chicken adobo, egg rolls and rice noodles, she said.
Ziegelmann lived most of her life near Manila, which was well out of the typhoon’s path. But she has experienced earthquakes and typhoons in her native land. Her family lived close to shore and would have to evacuate when a typhoon approached, she said.
Other members of Duluth’s Filipino community had friends and family directly affected by Typhoon Haiyan, she added.
Kadlec contacted Ziegelmann, whom she knows through their daughters, both students at Duluth East. Ziegelmann said she and other Filipinos were delighted to participate.
The feeling is mutual, said Kathy Nelson, pastor of Peace Church.
The church has had a relationship for at least 10 years with three of the denomination’s congregations in the northern part of the Philippine island of Mindanao, she said. But it hasn’t yet had a similar relationship with Filipinos in Duluth.
“I’m so glad that now we’re getting to know some local Filipinos,” Nelson said.
Nelson and church member Tom Little visited Mindanao during the summer, she said. Although it wasn’t the hardest-hit area and no one in the partner churches was killed, they still sustained heavy damage.
Having been there so recently, it’s easy to imagine the storm’s impact, Nelson said.
“You kind of realize how fragile it is,” she said. “They are pretty much farmers and fisher folk in our partner congregations, so they live right on the coast. … A lot of people live in bamboo houses. So you can just imagine that it would be gone.”
It was during that summer visit that it was decided the first Sunday in Advent would be the day that the church in Duluth and the churches in Mindanao would celebrate their partnership, Nelson said.
What they didn’t know was how much things would change in the Philippines in the meantime.
“It’s unfortunate a tragic event had to take place for us to be connected,” Kadlec said. “But at the same time, here we are connecting and helping each other out.”
If you go
What: Fundraiser for the Philippines
Where: Peace United Church of Christ, 1111 N. 11th Ave. E.
When: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. today in the fellowship hall
Cost: Freewill offering
If you can’t go: Checks may be made out to Peace United Church of Christ. Indicate on the memo line that it’s for the Philippines fund.