(Posted April 18, 2018)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Joe Proudfoot, pastor at Mount Sterling Nazarene Church, is doing something he’s never done before–cancelling Sunday services for a day.
On April 29, instead of sitting in a sanctuary listening to a sermon, the church’s 300-some congregants will gather for a quick prayer at 9 a.m., then go out into the community to perform service work.
“We’ve been making calls to people we know who could use help,” Proudfoot said, citing as an example individuals with serious health issues whose yards or homes could use some TLC.
“We have 12 projects lined up, including a couple of day-of surprises that will be great for the community,” he said. “We’re not just doing this for our church members; it’s for other residents in the village, too.”
Village officials got wind of the church’s plans and now a smaller group of congregants is teaming up with Mount Sterling employees April 27-28 to pick up large trash items, spruce up the town gazebo, and tend to overgrown yards, among other projects.
“This is going to be a big deal for us. We appreciate that the church is willing to help,” said Courtney Bricker, Mount Sterling fiscal officer, noting that the collaboration goes hand-in-hand with village council’s recent push to beautify the town and clean up neglected properties.
Mount Sterling Nazarene has a long tradition of performing mission work around the state, country, and even the world, lending a hand from Toledo to Guatemala.
“But we also want to be concerned about the people right across the street from us,” Proudfoot said.
He characterized the upcoming service days as a “giant experiment.” He hopes it’s the start of something new for the church.
“This is a big step for us as a church, but it’s a step we’re willing to take. It’s what church should be about–caring for people, being neighborly,” he said. “I hope it makes people think, ‘How can I help and look out for others above my own needs?’ ”
While out and about on April 29, church members will ask the people they help if they have any long-term needs.
“It’s not just about what we can get done that day,” Proudfoot said.
Anyone in the community who knows of someone who could use a hand with household projects, inside or out, can call the church at (740) 869-3127.
“If we get more requests than we can handle that day, then maybe we’ll pass off those extra projects (for another day) and keep it going,” Proudfoot said.