Photo courtesy MUCC;
Magnolia United Church of Christ parishioners and volunteers restore vegetation at Thorndyke Park Feb 23 as part of the church’s Community In Action Sunday, during which 130 people completed five service projects.
Photo courtesy MUCC; Magnolia United Church of Christ parishioners and volunteers restore vegetation at Thorndyke Park Feb 23 as part of the church’s Community In Action Sunday, during which 130 people completed five service projects.

Rather than attending regular services at Magnolia United Church of Christ, Feb. 23, parishioners and other volunteers demonstrated their commitment to the community and church at the second annual Community in Action Sunday.

Reverend Marci Scott-Weis, senior pastor at MUCC, said the goal of the day is to be in the community, being of service to neighbors.

To that end, 130 volunteers participated in five different service projects throughout the morning before returning to the church for hot soup and cocoa. Volunteers started the day with a blessing at the church before dividing into five teams, each assigned a different project.

“It was such an amazing morning seeing folks from our congregation and from our community join together to help our neighbors,” Scott-Weis said. “We had elderly folks and preschoolers working side by side on projects. We had strangers who came together for a common cause and became friends. It was fun, it was crazy busy, and it was church.”

Scott-Weis said 50 volunteers tackled Thorndyke Park by restoring habitat and planting trees, while 40 volunteers created blankets for Project Linus, which will benefit children at hospitals and youth entering foster care. Another 10 spruced up a tiny cabin at Interbay Village, and eight created comfort kits for the Ballard Food Bank. The remaining 25 volunteered at the Seattle Animal Shelter working on the outside dog area and indoor projects such as crafting toys for the dogs and other animals.

At Thorndyke Park, Boy Scouts, baseball players, church and community members stripped out invasive holly and replaced it with indigenous plants. The hard work forged a camaraderie and cooperative spirit between the volunteers, MUCC parishioner Melissa Ranken said.

“It provided a great opportunity to get to know each other and make a noticeable difference in our community,” she said.

Amy Kover, who also volunteered at Thorndyke Park, said the work reminded her how good it feels to get outside and be productive.

“Even though we worked for two hours, I could barely see my dent in the clean-up, but when I looked around at what our 45+ crew had accomplished, the whole park looked different,” Kover said. “It was a reminder for what numbers can accomplish.”

Parishioner Sue Olsen said her group of 10 at Interbay Village was driven by the “importance of helping others.” After weeding the planter boxes in the community spaces, one person commented that they couldn’t wait to come back and fill the boxes with flowers.

Parishioner Diane Wheeler said the best part of the day was being part of a group made up of men, women, girls and boys of all ages and experience “who were willing to give up their morning for the common good of helping creatures great and small.”

“I did this because much has been given to me, and I wanted to make a tangible difference in my neighborhood,” she said.

Scott-Weis said CIA is an important day for parishioners at MUCC because it gets them out of church and into the community.

“Our community matters to us as a congregation, and being of service matters to us,” she said. “It’s a different way to do church and to be church in this world. Instead of being inside at church and worshiping, we are out in our community, helping in whatever ways we can. That matters to us. Our neighbors matter to us.”

- Editor’s Note: Former editor Daniel Warn contributed to this story.