The church has left the building
Rev. Dr. Sonja Tobey
At St. Paul’s UMC in Lawton, we have been busy living out our mission to “love God, love people, and connect people to God’s love.” Every year on the first Sunday of September, we have Love in Action Sunday where the church leaves the building to be in ministry as the hands and feet of Christ in the community.
Part of our ministry to the community is to put items in blessing boxes around the community throughout the year. Some boxes are at local churches and others are at businesses. On Sunday we put together 160 food packs, 50 hygiene kits, and have many additional canned and dry good items for blessing boxes. To bless the world beyond our community, we also assembled several hygiene kits to be sent to UMCOR for disaster relief as well as took up donations for UMCOR Hawaii Relief.
Helping to feed the hungry and homeless in the Lawton community is a team effort, and we work with many different community agencies. This year for Love in Action Sunday, we worked with Hungry Hearts Feeding Ministry in their community garden. They are working on preparing the garden for the planting season next year.
Our youth worked at the Cameron University Wesley Foundation sprucing up the benches and fence in the back yard area. Our children put together blessing bags to be delivered to our local Veteran’s Administration Center to cheer the residents there. Another group took the church van around the community to pray for our community in several locations - the police and fire departments, a nursing care facility, hospitals, and schools.
We have been doing Love in Action Sunday for four years. It is an all-church, all-ages intentional focus on being the church in the community. During the month of August, we gather supplies and prepare people to participate in Love in Action Sunday. This all takes place during our normal worship time, so we truly are worshipping by our actions.