Service Worship Sunday

April 22, 2015

“Service Worship Sunday” offers a model to help congregations engage their wider community in a spirit of faithful discipleship in response to Christ’s reminder in Matthew 25.
On Palm Sunday about 60 representatives of the First UMC, San Leandro, spent the day helping to make their community a better place by participating in their second Service Worship Sunday, where they “Worshipped God in Service” in the following ways:
-        “Bringing Church Home” to the private homes of a couple of home-bound members;
-        extending love and care to the women and children clients of Building Futures with Women and Children by doing the following at First UMC: sewing some cheerful Easter/spring-themed pillowcases that were included in Easter baskets for the children (the materials for several of the pillowcases were donated by the Amador Valley Quilters Guild: assembling the Easter baskets filled with “goodies” for the kids: and, preparing two dinner meals for each of the Building Futures facilities: the shelter, and the Safe House; 
-        sending a group to MedShare to help sort through a variety of recyclable medical supplies that MedShare ships all over the world, by request, to places in need of such supplies — internationally and nationally;
-        laboring to prepare planter beds for this season, at the Elmhurst UMC Urban Community Garden in Oakland (this was the family option); and,
-        servined at a regularly-scheduled 5th Sunday “April Showers” meal and showers program for the hungry and/or homeless, sponsored by the San Leandro Interfaith Homelessness Network.
It was simply a coincidence that this Service Worship Sunday fell on Palm Sunday.  As a result, there was some disappointment about what wasn’t done as a part of “regular” Palm Sunday observances that day; but the pastor, the Rev.  Myrna Bernadel-Huey, felt that going forward with Service Worship that day fit with the theme of reflecting on and bearing witness to not just the final week of Jesus’ earthly life, but to his entire life, mission, and ministry.  “I hope that those who were able to participate in Service Worship Sunday found it a meaningful way to begin Holy Week.  It was a beautiful day on which we extended ourselves in loving service to people in need of support and encouragement beyond our walls.  What a way to worship God with our entire being,” she later stated. 
The San Leandro congregation will likely observe its next Service Worship Sunday on the 5th Sunday of August.