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RANTOUL — A Rantoul church, in partnership with a local car dealership, is helping women in the congregation with their car maintenance.

Once a month, men of Christian Life Church meet at Shields Auto Center, where employees of the business change the oil of the women who have signed up for the service. Afterward, volunteers from the church wash their vehicles.

And it’s all at no charge.

Joy Hardin of Rantoul is one of those who benefits from the service and said it is a big help.

“It’s a wonderful service. I really appreciate all they do for us,” said Hardin, who has taken her car in for the past two years.

Church member Al Vogelsang heads the Christian Life Oil Change Ministry.

“It’s for any single woman who attends our church over the age of 18. We have a pool of 73 women in our fellowship,” Vogelsang said.

The male volunteers perform the service from 8 a.m. to noon the third Saturday of each month at Shields.

The volunteers work in two two-hour shifts, with six men in a shift.

There are also two volunteers who sit with the women in the customer lounge “to talk with them and pray with them if they want prayer,” Vogelsang said.

“We partner with Shields. They do the oil change. They give us a great deal,” Vogelsang said.

In addition to a car wash, the church volunteers clean the interior of the vehicle.

“They get more excited about their clean car than they do about the oil change,” Vogelsang said.

Men of all ages take part, ranging from their teens to older than 70.

“What’s interesting about this, this is not part of our church budget, but it’s financed by men of the church,” Vogelsang said.

Christian Life isn’t the first church in the country to provide such a service, but he said many churches do it once or twice a year in their parking lots.

Vogelsang said the employees of Shields go above and beyond, checking the cars while servicing them and pointing out any problems.

“They will say, ‘You might have an issue with your brakes’ or whatever,” Vogelsang said. “We have had several of those. One woman’s mirror was falling off. Another woman had to disconnect her battery every night. It was an electrical problems. Somebody paid for that one, too. There was a $700 bill and a guy paid it.

“They’re a great partner with us,” he said of Shields.

Dave Hinton is editor of the Rantoul Press, a Community Media Group newspaper. For more, visit rantoulpress.com.