“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. ... Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Matthew 25:35-36, 40
The Church has Left the Building was an event designed to help members of Chambers Hill United Methodist Church, Harrisburg District, know God better by serving some of the people that Jesus calls his followers to serve.
It is such an important part of their faith that if you went to church on Sunday, September 28, you wouldn’t have found anyone worshipping in their sanctuary.
Instead they were worshipping God by feeding the hungry, building a garden, sewing quilts, visiting the lonely in nursing homes, and doing renovations at Daystar in Harrisburg. This hands-on approach was a chance for members to live out their faith through local missions.
As United Methodists, being in mission is an important part of who we are. It was the goal of Chambers Hill UMC to have 150 people participating in mission on September 28, and there were 160 participating. To reach the goal, they invited everyone at Chambers Hill UMC to participate, and also encouraged them to invite friends as an opportunity to introduce them to the church family.
Mission opportunities were created for everyone over age six, and child care was provided for those under age six. Many projects encouraged families to participate in mission together.
There were more than fifteen mission opportunities to choose from, including: preparing meals at Ronald McDonald House in Hershey, serving breakfast to Harrisburg’s homeless at Grace UMC, cleaning up roadside litter as part of the Adopt-a-Highway program, building raised garden beds at Chambers Hill Elementary School, gleaning fruit for the Central PA Foodbank, pampering the women staying at Bethesda Women’s Shelter, games and fellowship with youth recovering from substance abuse, singing and an ice cream social with residents of Paxton Street. Home, a hymn sing at Frey Village and Middletown Home nursing homes, making pillowcase dresses for children in need around the world, stuffing bags of toiletries for the homeless, meal preparation and cookout for mission team members, making “ugly” quilts for homeless persons, renovations at Daystar Center for Spiritual Recovery, making greeting cards for shut-ins, and preparing a newsletter mailing for Bethesda Mission.