Niles churches to team up for benefit concert

Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT Pastor Jeff Whittaker, on the piano, talks song ideas with  (from left) the Rev. Cathi Huvaere, Jan Nowak and Brenda Engel inside Wesley United Methodist Church in Niles.

Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT
Pastor Jeff Whittaker, on the piano, talks song ideas with (from left) the Rev. Cathi Huvaere, Jan Nowak and Brenda Engel inside Wesley United Methodist Church in Niles.

Two Niles churches are coming together for a community concert with the purpose of securing donations for the Niles Salvation Army’s food pantry.

The choirs of Michiana Christian Embassy and Wesley United Methodist Church will perform an hour-long celebration of the power of music at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at Wesley United Methodist Church, which is located at 302 Cedar St., in Niles.

Admission is a donation of a non-perishable food item or money that will be given to the Niles Salvation Army.

The idea was born during a casual conversation among friends Pastor Jeff Whittaker, of Michiana Christian Embassy; the Rev. Cathi Huvaere, pastor of Wesley United; and Brenda Engel, the choir director at Wesley United.

“We wanted to do a benefit concert for the (Salvation) Army by blending Broadway tunes, secular music, choir music and gospel music,” Huvaere said. “We thought it would give the community a chance to come out and enjoy music and fellowship while benefiting the Army.”

Fellowship and dessert, including ice cream sundaes and cookies, will follow the concert, which is family friendly and open to the entire community.

Jan Nowak, director of caring ministries for the Niles Salvation Army, said the concert is a welcome idea, especially at a time when food pantries are running low on items.

“When these guys called me I was just so jazzed,” she said. “The army itself is a gift to the community, but we can’t do it alone. We need all sorts of support. And for the churches to come together and do something that is a gift to the community and benefits the army — it doesn’t get any better than that.”

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