Methodists serve their neighbors for a second year

Volunteers from the Hillsboro United Methodist Church pick up leaves Sunday morning, Oct. 26, during their community service day. This was the second year the church has initiated Sunday morning service projects to tangibly demonstrate God?s love. Courtesy photo
Volunteers from the Hillsboro United Methodist Church pick up leaves Sunday morning, Oct. 26, during their community service day. This was the second year the church has initiated Sunday morning service projects to tangibly demonstrate God?s love. Courtesy photo
Taking on community service projects instead of gathering for a traditional worship service on a Sunday morning is not a new concept for Hills?boro United Metho?dist Church.

The congregation launched what Pastor Morita Truman hopes will be a tradition a year ago. The church completed their second round of projects Oct. 26.

On that Sunday, about 125 people from the congregation, plus 30 members of the Tabor College women?s soccer team?their coach is an HUMC attender?showed up for the second service day.

?We had plenty of work,? Truman said.

This year, participants cleaned up leaves at several locations and removed some of the old equipment at the elementary school playground with the anticipation of new equipment arriving in the near future.

?Those girls (on the soccer team) were hauling it out as fast as they could pull it out with the front loaders,? Truman said.

The church was inspired to consider a non-traditional approach Sunday worship when a denominational newsletter published an article but a congrega?tion in Harper that used its Sunday morning to clean up debris in the aftermath of a small tornado that hit the town.

Truman said she decided to see if she could convince the congregation in Hillsboro to consider a similar outreach.

?We got some push-back from those didn?t like the idea of working on Sunday,? Truman said of that initial effort. ?But it?s not really work, it?s serving in the name of Jesus. We had some folks who didn?t want to participate?and that?s OK.?

She said one class of older attenders chose not to take on outdoor projects, but created care packages for families living at Main Street Ministries, using hotel toiletries people had been collecting as a project.

?They couldn?t do some of the hard labor, but they were working here,? she said. ?Some of the children helped with that, and some children were out on the projects with their parents. It?s for all ages.?

Organizing the HUMC service day is spearheaded by congregants and the pastor.

?We have people who pay attention and kind of see needs around them,? Truman said about finding projects. ?Frankly, I drive around town and look for places that need raking.

?Sometimes the people are really receptive to that, sometimes they?re not,? she added. ?Sometimes it?s hard to accept help, especially if you think it comes with strings attached?even though it doesn?t.?

On the actual service day, participants are formed into teams as they arrive at the church. The size of the teams is based on the number of people needed for each job.

Truman said, soccer team aside, more people from the church participated this year than last year.

?I think people have started to catch the vision of what it is to serve others,? she said.

Truman added that the service day benefits the church, too.

?People are working together with new people in the church that maybe they haven?t had a chance to get to know yet,? Truman said. ?When you work side-by-side with someone, you have a different conversation than you do sitting next to them in a pew.

?It?s allowed people to get to know each other and to know what their skills are.?

Truman said she?s glad to see that other churches are considering similar ventures.

?We don?t all operate under the same denominational name, but we all serve the same God,? she said. ?I just think there?s such an opportunity for this?not to do it just one time a year, but to get people to see the needs around them and then put our faith in action.

?It?s not enough to just be in the sanctuary on Sunday morning and then go back to whatever we do during the week?but to make every day an intentional act of service.?