Beautiful Day

It’s Move Me Monday and I’ve got some inspiration for you.

In 2004, Westgate Church in San Jose, CA asked this question: if the church were to burn down tomorrow, would anyone miss us?  They did not like the answer.  So they instituted Beautiful Day.  Every year for one full week the church closes its doors and cancels services in order for the entire congregation to go out into the community and serve hands-on.

Every year there are multiple projects, from cleaning up schools to blood drives, from baking care packages for every fire station in the city to hosting a dance party for kids with autism.  Now the city of San Jose is very aware of Westgate’s presence in the community, and have begun asking for help on even more projects, such as cleaning up neighborhoods devastated by mass foreclosures and remodeling a local food bank to maximize productivity.  If the church burned down tomorrow, it would definitely be missed.

Acts of compassion are inspiring, but mass acts of compassion?  That is the kind of faith that moves mountains.  Are you serving?  Ministry doesn’t always mean donating money or walking up to strangers and asking them if they believe in God.  What are your individual talents?  Think you can’t possibly use them to make a difference?

My mom and I baked a few dozen mincemeat cookies, a dozen loaves of pumpkin and zucchini bread, and four tins of fudge for a local fire station last Christmas.  Did you know firemen have to buy and cook their own food?  Did you know they have a holiday party with their families (that they also have to buy and cook for)?  They were blown away and incredibly grateful to receive that care package.  Local heroes definitely deserve our thanks.

With a little creativity, you can figure out something that fits your talents and interests just right.  If you need another idea, check back with me on Wednesday when I tell you about another project I like to do.

What does “community service” mean to you?  Do you get pictures of cleaning up the sides of highways, or kids sentenced to work to make up for misdemeanors?  Or do you see fun, family activities putting hammers and paint to good use?  How do you serve your community?  I love hearing from you!

17 comments on “Beautiful Day

  1. Stacy Green says:

    That’s pretty amazing. I have my issues with church, but it’s wonderful to see a congregation doing such great things. To me, community service means helping those less fortunate. That’s why I always take stuff to the Salvation Army or Goodwill instead of consignment, no matter the condition. I know I should do more, but at least I’m doing something. Thanks for sharing

    • Stacy, even one act means something. Not everyone can go to the local soup kitchen every week to serve meals. Have you heard the story about the beach covered with starfish and one man throwing some back? A boy asks why the man bothers; he can’t possibly make a difference with all these helpless starfish. The man throws one back and replies, “It made a difference to that one.” 🙂

  2. Hartford says:

    What an inspiring project – thank you so much for sharing. It brought tears to my eyes.
    I put my writing talents to work for a number of non-profit and charity groups in our community by helping them with their communications needs and marketing projects. It looks great on my resume, gives me excellent experience, and keeps me involved with community groups at the grassroots. I love it!

  3. This is so inspiring! The local animal shelter and causes for babies and children are my primary focus when it comes to volunteering. I live outside a tiny village that has a volunteer fire department and I like the idea of making them some treats around Christmas. Thanks for the idea! Most recently I was involved in a river clean-up. Hot, dirty, rewarding work.

  4. Community service is so important but I’m guilty of rarely making time for it the past few years. I used to work with a local historical society to raise funds for the community and I did a lot of volunteeer work for my kids schools. I ahve to find ways to get back into it. Thanks for the reminder, Angela!

    • It’s great when you can find that niche that makes volunteering enjoyable and something you’re passionate about. The historical society sounds fun. Wednesday I’m going to share about a project that I turn into a girlfriends party.

      Thanks for stopping by, Marcia!

  5. I volunteer in various places, as needed, including my kids’ school. I also volunteer at my church (parish office and the library) – it gives me sense of belonging and making a difference in other people’s lives.

  6. Fabulous post, Angela! My son’s school has a community service requirement of 30 hours per year – it’s really made him (and us) think about how we can help. Since we live near the beach, we do beach clean ups a few times a year and those are always lots of work, but worth it.

    I didn’t know that about firemen – I’m definitely going to think of ways to celebrate them. A local coffee shop has a program where you can buy a pound of coffee for the soldiers overseas and they send a huge care package once a month. I love that idea.

    There are so many ways to help out in the community and it doesn’t need to be tied to a church or organization. You’ve given me some inspiration to get out and see what more we can do. Thanks!

    • Hi Tameri! Wow, a school that requires community service? That is awesome. There seems to be a lot of ways to do stuff for soldiers, but it’s not advertised very much. My mom always donates her old cell phones to Cell Phones for Soldiers.

  7. Lovely post Angela. Thanks for the reminder about the firefighters. We tend to think of them after a major crisis and not so much on a daily basis. Community service should come naturally to all of us and sharing the commitment as a family is a bonus!

  8. Naomi Bulger says:

    What a lovely story. I used to live in a country town, and a few summers back, devastating bushfires swept through. The whole community pitched in to help. I worked at a cafe, and one morning a neighbour rocked up with a trailer full of watermelons for the firefighters. He’d been down to the supermarket to buy some but they gave them to him free. He then transported them for free. We chopped them up at the cafe. At the cafe, we made lunches for the firefighters, then took them over to the CWA ladies who packaged them up. The fire could not be controlled and a week later, I stood by the highway waving and cheering as a fleet of fire trucks and firefighters from a distant State rolled up the hill to help. It still brings tears to my eyes thinking of that moment. Community is a beautiful thing.

  9. […] you everyone for your comments Monday about community service.  Continuing with that […]

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