A series on healing and wholeness will be featured as the Lenten midweek program at Grace Lutheran Church, going beyond what is traditional.
The series begins with the Ash Wednesday service this week at 7 p.m. at the church, 211 S. Ninth St. For the five following Wednesdays, the church will present "Lenten Journeys toward Healing and Wholeness" with a free supper at 5:30 p.m. and worship at 6:30 p.m.
The church wanted a program "we could share with the community for healing and wholeness," said the Rev. Matthew Martens.
Wednesday services are a strong tradition in the Lutheran faith, as with many denominations, he said. "We just wanted to make it special and share it with the community this year."
There will be no supper on Ash Wednesday because it is a traditional service, "with ashes and Holy Communion and a message," Martens said.
The church thought about what topics needed to be addressed, and arranged for guest speakers each week who are experts in those areas. Topics will be addiction, broken relationships, Alzheimer's, bereavement, and illness.
Guest speakers will include Jim Seward of Fort Dodge Youth Shelter Care; Amy Von Bank, head of the Alzheimer's Association in Fort Dodge; and Marlys Taylor, a hospice care counselor.
"For the health and illness week, we'll have an actual healing service where we have a blessing and anointing with oil for healing," Martens said.
Each week, a free will offering will be taken for the featured cause.
"We see so many folks who are struggling with these issues. With the addiction, the broken relationships like with divorce, hurting relationships," he said. "It was a need we feel out of the congregation, but we want to share it with the wider community and see how Jesus brings healing and help and strength to these issues."