Faith in Action — originally forged as a partnership between Outreach, Inc., and World Vision — has the simple goal of helping church congregations look beyond church walls and serve others in the community.
Each fall, churches are encouraged to undertake a four-week program of daily devotionals and weekly services stressing the theme “Don’t just go to church. Be the church.” The four weeks culminate with a day of community service by the entire congregation replacing a regular Sunday worship service.
While not all churches have adopted this program, many have at least embraced a day of service — even if that work does not replace regular Sunday services.
The Fuller Center for Housing has embraced Faith in Action as an opportunity to strengthen its ties to churches and is once again encouraging its partners to offer Faith in Action service opportunities this weekend.
Among those who have embraced it is the Americus-Sumter Fuller Center for Housing, based in the backyard of The Fuller Center’s international headquarters. Americus-Sumter will be tackling five projects this weekend with the help of dozens of volunteers from seven churches in the area. Four of the projects will take place Saturday, and one church, the Americus Mennonite Fellowship, will replace its regular Sunday services with a workday. The projects include four house repairs and work on the Partnership House at Koinonia Farm, birthplace of the affordable housing movement.
Brett Safran, director of the Americus-Sumter Fuller Center, said he attended Sumter Area Ministerial Association meetings to discuss Faith in Action Weekend and contacted many pastors directly, getting a strong, positive response.
Similar events are happening across the nation, from smaller projects in places like Spartanburg, S.C., where Walnut Grove United Methodist Church will replace floors and build a ramp for a wheelchair-bound homeowner to Atlantic City, N.J., where three projects are involved.
In Atlantic City, the Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders will be working with Joining Hands, a longtime partner in their recovery work and with the new Atlantic City Fuller Center for Housing. The Faith in Action work there is a continuation of a memorial build in memory of Jim Sennett, the Joining Hands founder who died earlier this year. His wife, Peg, has been so successful raising funds and volunteers for the memorial build that it has grown from repairing one Superstorm Sandy-damaged home to repairing three.
With dedications scheduled for Oct. 18 in Atlantic City, this Faith in Action weekend is crucial to completing the build. The Disaster ReBuilders’ Bart Tucker will be leading a 35-person team from his church in Massachusetts to work in Atlantic City.
“I’m so excited that our partners in Atlantic City and Spartanburg have expanded our efforts as this event could and should inspire all of our partners around the country,” said Kirk Lyman-Barner, Director of U.S. Field Operations. “Engaging local churches by organizing housing projects to assist their neighbors in need is how we live out our mission to be a servant to the Church.”