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‘Serve Weekend‘ replaces church services

Worshipping God for at least one local church over the weekend included canceling all weekend services and participating in a volunteer program known as “Serve Weekend.”

Serve Weekend began five years ago at Whittier Area Community Church. Pastor Bill Ankerberg designated one weekend when his congregation would lend a helping hand to projects in the community.

Now, five years later, WACC had 102 projects and 1050 volunteers engaged in its 2010 Serve Weekend program. Pastor Bill Ankerberg positioned himself at the entrance to the church Saturday evening and Sunday morning to meet those who might not have heard of the annual project, or just came to the church out of habit.

This year, WACC was joined by 16 other Whittier churches with their own interpretation of Serve Weekend, be it car washes and oil changes for single mothers, teaching first aid, handing out gifts to children, and various acts of kindness, the Whittier Daily News reported Saturday.

After the success of the first Serve Weekend, Whittier Councilman Joe Vinatieri invited all local churches to participate. Vinatieri asked Whittier native and community volunteer Lee Hardeman to visit the churches and encourage their participation.

“Christ asked us to serve others, and I am simply being obedient to his word,” Hardeman said. “We are showing the people of Whittier that we love them.”

When Serve Weekend was approaching, the pastor of Regency Christian Center International, Wesley Johnson, called the Whittier Police Department to ask what his church could do for the community. Johnson was asked to help elderly resident Meredith Vanbuskerk, whose yard was overgrown with shrubbery over 6-ft tall and resembled an urban jungle. “The city’s code officer came here and gave us a fine because of the yard,” Vanbuskerk said. “We couldn’t pay the fine, nor could we clean up the yard.”

With electric saws, weed trimmers and large city trash bins, Pastor Wesley and a crew of 10 were able to do the necessary work.

“I am thrilled to death,” Vanbuskerk said. “It seems like kids nowadays do crazy things, but these kids are out here today learning how to help others. I am just so grateful.”

“We do projects all year round,” said Debbie Silva, the service class teacher at Whittier Christian School, “and this  is just one of the ways we do to help out.”

Whittier Daily News: FULL STORY

Alex Murashko is founder and editor of Outreach New Media. Murashko has been a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, Press-Enterprise, Christian Examiner, and ASSIST News. He co-leads the Social Media Ministry team as a volunteer at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif.

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