In Vinita, First UMC volunteers pray after cleaning up the playground at Hall-Halsell Elementary School.
By Sonja Tobey, Pastor, Vinita-First
The church beyond the walls: that is what First United Methodist Church, Vinita, was on Sept. 1, "Labor for Your Neighbor Sunday."
Rather than holding regular worship that morning, the congregation met at 8:30 for breakfast, a brief devotion on serving, and instructions about the projects for the day.
At 9, they moved out into the community in service.
The starting date for Vinita Public Schools had been pushed later due to construction and remodeling at several campuses, including two elementary schools. Construction was just finished, and school was to open the first week of September. There was no time to clean up the properties, including the playgrounds.
That’s where the congregation of First UMC helped. At the two elementary schools, they cleaned up and prayed over the playgrounds and more.
They also prayed over and performed cleanup at both city parks, the library, and the fairgrounds, then met together for a fellowship meal.
School Superintendent Kelly Grimmett wrote the church. "How thoughtful and Christian-like to give of yourselves to make things better for the kids in our community. We are so fortunate to have people like you. I pray the Lord blesses you, and keep our school in your thoughts and prayers!"
Vinita-First United Methodists plan to labor for the neighbors annually on Labor Day weekend.