“It was a marvelous day,” said Linda Easterling, pastor of Our Saviour, regarding last year’s “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday. “We had a lot of high energy and a great turnout. People talked about it for weeks. We have even talked about doing an event like this every six months.”
Abbie, a therapy dog, along with Annie (left) and Saide Latimer, participate in “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday last year with Our Saviour Lutheran Church, Lebanon, Ore.
Last year’s inaugural event celebrated the ELCA’s 25 years as a church “that rolls up its sleeves and gets to work,” according to an ELCA news release.
And that is what members of some 9,600 ELCA congregations did, participating in the dedicated day of service with such projects as cleaning up parks, writing letters to military personnel and veterans, baking and distributing cookies to police and firefighters, and practicing random acts of kindness in the community.
Fifty-eight Our Saviour members of all ages worked on a wide range of projects, including painting a Habitat for Humanity house; building and decorating two Little Free Libraries (containers that house free books for the community); organizing a clothes closet for the school district’s homeless; creating baby quilts; baking cookies for a soup kitchen; assembling toiletry kits and lunch for the homeless; and visiting a nursing home — even bringing Abbie, Easterling’s 10-year-old German shepherd therapy dog in tow.
It was important to provide a variety of activities so all could participate according to their ability and interest, Easterling said. For example, elderly members baked cookies and made quilts while children decorated library containers and the more able-bodied worked on the Habitat house.
Organizing the event was “fairly easy” since the congregation already had built working relationships with area agencies and ministries, she said.
Before scattering all over town for two hours, the small congregation first gathered for worship. The service included a blessing of the hands, which was “a very meaningful” experience, Easterling said. After their time of service, volunteers returned to the church for lunch and fellowship.
“The day allowed us to turn outward — to go out into our community and do mission … to serve our neighbors and participate in God’s kingdom,” she said.
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers