by Nicole Brodzik
On Sunday, July 30, churches across the west metro sat empty.
Pews were vacant, pastors were not standing at the alter and donation boxes weren’t filled.
Instead, hundreds of church leaders and parishioners hit the streets doing good deeds for their communities during what seven local churches called Sunday 2 Serve.
“This is worship,” MainStreet Covenant Church’s Pastor Jeremy Berg said. “The roll of faith worship is to help others. It was just as much a celebration and worship as us singing in church.”
MainStreet Covenant, Freshwater Community, Bethel United Methodist, St. Martin’s Episcopal, St. John’s Lutheran, First Presbyterian and Mound Evangelical Free Church all participated in the event that helped with yard work and volunteer projects, like making sandwiches at Lake Minnetonka Shores in Spring Park. Berg said they’ve had a great turn out the last two years and hope to see the program grow in the future.
“It’s largely families who attend our churches that decide to go out and work in their communities,” Berg said.
Pastor John Braland of Freshwater Church in Waconia said that over 400 parishioners from his place of worship were out doing good works in a number of cities, including Waconia, Norwood Young America, Watertown, St. Bonifacius and Chaska.
“We’re committed to making a positive impact on our community,” Braland said. “We want churches to be known for what we stand for, not what we stand against. We all came together side by side, paint brush by paint brush to make a difference. It was very unifying.”
Braland added that the day of service goes along with his church’s mission of serving the people of his community.
“It’s not all about getting people to Freshwater, it’s about getting Freshwater out to serve the people,” he said.
Berg echoed that sentiment.
“It’s great to partner with so many different faith communities for the common good,” he said. “We cleaned cemetaries and helped with home projects for people who needed some extra help. It felt good to do good.”
Braland said that last year’s efforts mainly focused on doing volunteer projects for cities and organizations, but that he enjoyed being able to help people on a more personalized level this year. He said his hope is that the project continues to grow and they are able to help more people next year where they need it most.
“We had about a bunch of people doing multiple projects on home updates and remodels for people who really needed it,” Braland said. “We are trying to do more of the smaller projects for individuals where we can really make a difference in their lives.”
Braland said he and all of the participants in this year’s Sunday 2 Serve volunteered their time and asked nothing in return, even recognition.
“We weren’t wearing our churches shirts or anything,” he said. “We were simply the hands and feet of Christ, serving without any expectation of getting anything back.”