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Local religious leaders share hopes for New Year

<p>Pastor Keith Schauer talks with a member of the Oasis Church in Aurora during a monthly barbecue outreach event. | Submitted</p>
Daniel Watts, G92 coordinator for World Relief DuPage/Aurora
Keith Schauer, Oasis Church
The Rev. Juancho Campanano of Wesley United Methodist Church in Naperville.
Matthew Soerens, field director for the Evangelical Immigration Table.
The Rev. Bill Hybels, senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church.

As the New Year rolls in, resolutions are made, fresh beginnings commence and new goals are set. Local pastors and religious leaders also have high hopes for the new year.

Oasis Christian Fellowship Church

Pastor Keith Schauer of Oasis Christian Fellowship said the church is focusing on expanding its outreach ministries this year. The church’s monthly barbecue outreach has grown from eight to 100 people since it began in 2012.

“In 2014 our prayer is to have even a greater impact on the community. We plan to reach out to more families and invite them to our monthly outreaches, we plan to have activities for the children, and provide support to the parents,” Schauer said. “We are also planning on having a weeklong camp for the children of Aurora.”

The church also has a few major goals they plan to reach by the end of this new year.

“(We want to) finish the launching of our sidewalk video Gospel Mission, remodel the key parts of the church for more affective ministry, make stronger disciples of the Oasis family, faithfully teach and preach the word of God verse by verse,”Schauer said.

Oasis also will offer a free 12-week job-training program for those in Aurora beginning at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 28. Those interested can call 630-593-5140 to register and for more information about the monthly barbecues.

Oasis is at 20 N. Lincoln Ave., Aurora.

Crosspointe Baptist Church

Pastor Bruce Worley of Crosspointe Baptist Church is looking forward to doing what they can for the Oswego area.

“At Crosspointe we are going to continue serving our community through service projects for the city and for individuals as well,” Worley said.

Crosspointe hosted a live simulcast featuring prominent author and pastor Beth Moore in September, and it already has plans to host another.

“We will be offering a simulcast at Easter called the ‘Secret Church’ where we unite with other churches around the world for intense Bible study, worship and prayer for the persecuted church,” Worley said.

Crosspointe is at 8 W. Rickard Drive, Oswego.

Evangelical Immigration Table

Matthew Soerens, field director for the Evangelical Immigration Table, is hoping for churches to push for immigration reform.

“My hope and prayer is that local churches will welcome the immigrants in our community in unprecedented ways in this new year and that we’ll use the influence that we have on behalf of the immigrants within our congregations who desperately need the House of Representatives to pass commonsense immigration reform,” Soerens said.

He said national events are helping the push for reform gain momentum.

“Beyond seeing immigration reform finally passed into law, I’d also love to see faith communities be a part of the legal services response to reform, helping to ensure that immigrants have access to affordable, authorized, accurate legal information,” Soerens said.

For more information about EIT visit evangelicalimmigrationtable.com.

World Relief DuPage/Aurora

Daniel Watts, G92 coordinator for World Relief DuPage/Aurora, hopes for more intentional individual acts of compassion towards local immigrant communities.

“I would love to see local churches welcome and engage with immigrant communities in a holistic way — everything from welcoming the actual people into their congregations and homes to engaging in advocacy for common sense immigration reform that will help these communities,” Watts said. “I hope that churches will increasingly continue do the right thing for the right reason, being motivated by the love the Bible explicitly calls us to have for our immigrant brothers and sisters, and by seeing immigrants not as ‘them’ but as ‘us.’”

He focuses on building support for commonsense immigration reform among college students.

For more information about World Relief, visit worldrelief.org or G92.com.

Wesley United Methodist Church

The Rev. Juancho Campanano of Wesley United Methodist Church of Naperville said the congregation is looking forward to increasing its community involvement in specific ways.

“Providing an appreciation lunch for City Hall’s employees in March, have a ‘Change the World” community service in May, and volunteer myself as chaplain either for the police or fire departments of Naperville,” Campanano said. “These are in addition to what we are already doing with DuPage PADS, Loaves & Fishes, etc.”

He says the main goal for Wesley United is to show love to the community.

“Our ultimate goal is to make and mature disciples of Jesus Christ to help transform the world by loving God, serving our neighbors and caring for the earth,” Campanano said. “This means, we would like to see a continued growth of our members and constituents both in quality and quantity.”

In 2014, Wesley United has a host of plans for the church in progress, including the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. day, the celebration of Black History month in February, and the World Day of Prayer service on March 7.

Wesley United is at 21 E. Franklin Ave., Naperville. For more information, visit wesleynaperville.org.

Willow Creek Community Church

Susan DeLay, the director of media relations for Willow Creek Community Church, said the church will start the year off by encouraging its members to grow and become stronger.

“We hope people in the congregation will make a commitment to make 2014 a stronger year, so beginning with the first weekend (Jan. 4 and 5), we launch a series of messages titled ‘Stronger,’” DeLay said. “This includes strengthening relationships, marriages, our character, our bodies, love, faith and more.”

Senior Pastor Bill Hybels said the desire to better ourselves at the new year is in line with the church’s goals.

“Many of us start out each new year determined to make vital changes in our lives. We sense somewhere in our souls that we need to grow stronger in certain areas. But by mid-February, it’s often back to status quo, and the good intentions lie on the ash heap of an unchanged life.”

To combat this common trend, Hybels offers this advice: “Growth doesn’t just happen by accident. It takes commitment on our part.”

Willow Creek has a few events in the works for the upcoming months.

Father/Daughter Date Nights in February where there will be dinner and dancing in the evenings for participants.

Also Celebration of Hope, “a churchwide initiative Willow has done for the past several years that allows the congregation to get involved with local and global compassion initiatives. With a goal to provide hope to a hurting world, past Celebration of Hope initiates have included packing seeds packs that are distributed through local churches in Africa and Latin America,” DeLay said.

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