LifeSpring Church members ventured out of their usual meeting space Sunday morning for their fifth “Be the Church” event.
LifeSpring, a United Methodist Church that began meeting in the summer of 2008, partnered with Open Hearts Community Mission, Fostering Bulloch, Georgia Southern University’s Christian Campus Fellowship and the university’s Wesley Foundation to meet some of the needs of those groups.
More than 120 people gathered at 8:30 a.m. to volunteer their services for the better part of the day.
“We made sure everyone had a job,” said the Rev. Dorsia Atkinson, the pastor of LifeSpring. “We had kids making crafts for nursing homes, youth painting at Wesley House, adults preparing food and making sure everyone had water, some collecting donations for gift baskets.”
LifeSpring Administrative Assistant Natasche Clark added that a couple of members wanted to help but couldn’t participate in the physical labor because of health reasons.
“Well,” Clark said, “we put them to work at registration.”
One team of workers spent the day at the Wesley Foundation painting inside and outside, modifying a wheelchair ramp and creating a community garden.
Another group worked at Fostering Bulloch, building benches and shelves, attaching shelving paper, installing a sink, doing plumbing work, putting up new doors, fashioning the men’s closet into a dressing room and cleaning out the attic.
“It was very humbling, besides being amazing,” said Lori Walker, a church member and project leader.
Although she admitted that she was slightly concerned about facing spiders in the attic, Walker said she approached her first “Be the Church” event with great enthusiasm.
Volunteers collected food for the Open Hearts Community Mission. A third team labored at Christian Campus Fellowship near the college campus, building an outdoor worship area with a stage, new benches and a roof. Members of this team also installed carpet inside and fixed plumbing problems.
Atkinson said she hopes “Be the Church” serves as the beginning of a lifestyle change in the hearts and attitudes of church members and the community.
“God wants us to be disciples,” Atkinson said. “A disciple is called to ‘love your neighbor.’ And loving is more than words.
“Loving sometimes means ‘loving a long time’ — loving people who aren’t like us, sometimes, loving the ‘unlovely,’ ” she continued. “But, we’re all children of God.”