FULFILLING A PURPOSE
There were helping hands swarming all over Lycoming County last Sunday.
Attendees of Faith United Methodist Church, 700 Fairview Drive in Montoursville, put their faith into action with a Day of Service.
Putting aside regular services, the church sent more than 300 people to 27 sites that morning to work on any and all tasks that needed to be done.
The day capped a sermon series by Rev. Larry Leland titled “Putting Our Faith in Action.”
“As a congregation, we know our call is to go into the world and make disciples and that requires to leave the church,” Leland said. “We wanted to start to make an impact in some of the communities where our folks live. We worked at some houses, at parks, at schools, and wanted to make sure we were interacting to share the love of Christ with them while doing some work as well.”
Tom Neuhard, president and CEO of Ashler Manor, a private nonprofit home for foster care and adoption services in Muncy, said the servants from Faith came prepared for work.
“They approached us and asked if they could come to our campus to do any work that would help residents. We came up with a list of some jobs we needed some assistance with, most of them painting. Maybe 20-plus people came from the church and they had already reviewed our list of projects and purchased supplies. They took off to do their projects right away when they got here, around 10 a.m. It would have taken our maintenance person probably a month to complete all that work, so it was a huge help.”
Thomas Schmick, Rider Park manager, had three projects ready for his 18 volunteers from Faith UMC. “We had three park people here and each took a work crew. One painted 17 picnic tables and they were all accomplished. Then the 1/3-mile entrance road that goes to the parking lot needed leaves and muck shoveled out of its roadside ditch so it could transport water more readily. Another crew worked on repairing a trail. They did a great job and helped to really spruce up the park and make it look a lot better.”
Ryan Tira, a member of the Faith congregation, said the day, which he spent at a Newberry park, helped him get his kids out to serve.
“We were able to do some things that need redone but they don’t necessarily have ability to stay on top of it. It was a rewarding experience for me to have my wife and our two older kids participate, a way to get family involved and teach the kids about giving back.”
Leland, who had his 5-year-old son out with him for the day, said it won’t be his church’s last time working outside itself.
“One of the questions we constantly ask ourselves is if our church disappeared tomorrow, would the community miss us? If all we’re doing is coming together to worship and to study and to love each other and to share life together, those are all great, but unless we’re making a difference in the places where we live not really fulfilling the purpose of the church.
“We want to show the love that we have for Jesus by loving the world, loving God and loving each other. We can’t just do two of those, we have to do all three,” Leland said.