There’s no need to go to church every Sunday; permission to skip granted courtesy Kim Engelmann, senior pastor at .
Yes, there’s a catch but it’s a feel-good catch that has lured in new members who have told Engelmann they joined the church just because of WVPC’s Service Worship Sundays.
For every month with five Sundays WVPC turns that fifth Sunday into a Service Worship day and turns loose the congregation into the community to do good deeds.
“From a theological perspective we are worshiping by serving,” Engelmann says.
But you don’t have to be a member of the church to join them, Engelmann says. Anyone can help out then stick around for the potluck dinner back at the church at the end of the day.
Volunteers say they feel as if they “receive” more in their work of the day than they “give,” Engelmann says.
They may be giving of their muscles on some projects and need a good scrubbing, but it’s the service work is a tangible form of giving that cha-chings with immediate payback, unlike how writing a check can feel disconnected to some, she says.
Of one group that spent the day doing yard work, Engelmann says: “They were dirty, but they were smiling ear to ear.”
Service Worship projects range from cleaning the yard of an elderly couple to making sandwiches then handing them out in parks to homeless people.
On Jan. 29, the next Service Worship Sunday, congregation members and other volunteers will also deliver school supplies and sports equipment to a school in need, knit or crochet caps for newborn babies and cancer patients, fill bags with toiletries for homeless women and children, restock the pantry at , to name but a few of the scheduled projects.
WVPC partners with other service organizations such as InnVision, which supports the homeless, and West Valley Community Services, which supports low-income individuals and families, to come up with the various community projects and connect them with the people most in need.
Service Sundays have become popular among the congregation and like the word of God spread to other area churches who asked to join or learn so they could start their own projects.
is one that joined WVPC for past Service Sundays and now has its own program. is jumping on the bandwagon at the next event.
The more the merrier, says , director of youth ministry at WVPC. They love having other churches join and encourage copycats.
“Eventually you won’t be able to find a church open on the fifth Sunday,” Hall says.
It’s the perfect fit for the community focus of Good Samaritan United Methodist Church, says Mark Teagle, director of music and family ministries.
Teagle learned of the project through a friend who was part of Bethel’s day with WVPC. So intrigued by the concept he says the very next day he contacted Bethel, then WVPC to learn how to get involved.
“This will be our first time. We’ll probably bring 20 to 30 people to get a feel of how it works,” he says. He hopes that April will be their first time his entire congregation will go out on its own, but he says they will continue to partner with the other churches as well on projects.
“We want to keep the strong bonds between the churches going. Then the community can really see the see the churches united.”
Anyone interested in joining WVPC for Service Worship Sunday can contact the church at 408-252-1365 or visit www.wvpc.org.