Thousands of hours devoted to serving in schools, homeless shelters and more
December 4, 2017
Hundreds of individuals from the Kansas City, Missouri, metro area woke up one autumn morning and instead of putting on their Sunday best, they dressed in work clothes, boots and gloves; gathered rakes, scissors, knitting needles and casserole dishes; and drove to church to worship in a different way.
The Be the Church campaign started several years ago under the philosophy that an important part of a church community’s worship experience is in getting up and out to put faith in action and serve. In 2017, over 550 individuals from across the metro area went out to serve in over 25 locations, including social service agencies, schools, homeless shelters, transitional housing and even their own church buildings to rake, pack, cook, clean, demolish, build and play.
“While the work this number of people can accomplish is substantial, it’s incredible to see the awareness that comes through direct exposure to issues here in our community and the inspiration that comes through interaction with those serving at agencies addressing them,” said Jimmy Itczak-McCarty, director of missions at Second Presbyterian Church.
Claire, a teenager who served at a local transitional home for women and children, said this experience opened her eyes to the reality that families that get displaced because of domestic violence would have nowhere else to go without organizations like these.
The Rev. Kirk Perucca and the community at Covenant Presbyterian Church offered a variety of services that morning, including a trunk-or-treat event for local families, painting, yard work, urban garden winterization and promotion of their food pantry and health and wellness center.
Village Presbyterian Church, under the leadership of Mission Director Deborah White, mobilized over 200 volunteers for a variety of projects, including assembling hundreds of health and hygiene kits, packing medications for a hospital in the Dominican Republic, prepping 300 lunches for distribution at City Union Mission and making blankets for Kenyan babies.
These efforts and the work done at John Knox Kirk Presbyterian Church, Heritage Presbyterian Church and Grandview Park Presbyterian Church (along with two dozen other nonprofits) represent over 1,000 volunteer hours. That morning provided a different way to worship, but as Nathan, a fourth-grader, said, “I wish every Sunday we could be the church.” If that’s the outcome of this kind of enterprise, we might just be doing something right.
Sally Wright, acting associate executive presbyter, Heartland Presbytery
Today’s Focus: Heartland Presbytery
Let us join in prayer for:
Heartland Presbytery Staff
Sally Wright, Acting Associate Executive Presbyter
Sally Hinchman, Ruling Elder, Stated Clerk
Brian Hathhorn, Financial Administrator
Jessie Echavarria, Administrative Assistant
Michelle Jones, Administrative Assistant
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray:
Gracious God, we give you thanks for your church and our small piece of your great family. We rejoice in the gifts of all the men and women leading congregations in spiritual growth. Inspire each of us to find opportunities to grow your church. Amen.