Local church wins with Super Soul Bowl – The Times Weekly
On Sunday, February 13, 2022, as thousands across the country watched a historic Super Bowl between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams, members of Pastor Lonnie Posley’s New Canaanland Christian Church celebrated the Super Soul Bowl .
A 28-year tradition for the church, which began when Posley realized that Super Bowl weekend could be an auspicious time to share his faith with the city of Joliet.
“It has been an evangelistic tool to bring the community together from all walks of life. One thing about the Super Bowl is that it is always set in stone for the date and time of the event. So we chose that to use an evangelism tactic to bring the town together and have fun,” Posley said.
Posley explained how the event incorporates community and congregational participation.
“Our deacons are arbiters. Our doormen are referees. The worship team serves as cheerleaders and we have volunteers who come to play as a team. We are turning the whole church into a football field. We put artificial turf in the gymnasium and our basket was made from balloons. You get a ticket when you arrive and we raffle gifts. People give us gifts and we raffle them off; bikes, televisions and we even tried to buy a car for a raffle,” Posley said.
For future Soul Bowls, Pastor Posley hopes to include a signed NFL helmet donated to the church raffle.
In addition to hosting a football game and raffle, Pastor Posley and his congregation present select members of the community with the Community Impact Award which honors those who have made outstanding contributions in support of the county. Recipients are awarded during the church service or in the mail later. According to Posley, the Community Impact Award is a smaller model of the Heisman Trophy. Posley said that next year the award will be the Super Bowl rings and called the Grand Faith Hall of Fame.
He explained that honoring the winners was something new added a few years ago.
“It happened a few years after the program started. We started saying why not honor people in the community and give them Heisman trophies? Posley said.
Posley’s wife Rhonda explained how this year’s recipients were chosen.
“The fact that they are in the community and provide frontline health care is why we chose them. This year, because of Covid-19, so many healthcare workers are sacrificing their lives to keep our community intact. So here are some of the beneficiaries we’ve heard from across the community through lay people who have said how much they’ve helped,” Ms. Posley said.
While Mr. Posley revealed that each year they choose recipients from a different profession based on the impact they had that year, Ms. Posley said that is why it was timely to recognize health workers.
“So the pandemic is something that we have been hit hard with. In our community, we already suffer from the lack of jobs and income. A lot of people who go to the health department don’t have health insurance, but Dr. Dolly always does what she’s supposed to do and what she’s called to do. That’s why we chose healthcare and frontline workers this year,” Ms. Posley said.
Like her fellow recipients, Dr. Dolly is a seasoned healthcare worker who is a cherished member of the community. She worked faithfully for her employer APN Will County Health Center.
Tara Collins is a member of the New Canaanland Christian Church. She has worked in the healthcare field for over 40 years. She currently works at Corner Stone Services and Friends over Fifty, a group home for disabled seniors. She served both for 26 years combined.
Sherita Lyons was a member and nurse at the New Canaanland Christian Church
for over 20 years and has worked in the healthcare field for over 23 years.
Barbara L. Mabry-Moffett worked at Saint Joseph’s Hospital as a registered nurse for over a decade until COVID-19. She saw the need for help in several other communities and became a traveling nurse. The New Canaanland Christian Church honored these health winners at this year’s Supper Soul Bowl event.