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February 5, 2012 / Jim Fenton

Service: A New Fifth Sunday Tradition

Planting at Redwood Grove

Planting native plants at Redwood Grove

Last Sunday, I participated in what has quickly become a new tradition for my church, Union Presbyterian Church. In every month that has five Sundays, we gather for a very short church/commissioning service, then fan out to serve the community. I chose to join a group that was doing some outdoor restoration work at Redwood Grove. Other groups did things that matched their talents:  sewing blankets for teen moms and their babies, singing in the VA Hospital worship service, and helping in the kitchen at CityTeam International, for example.

UPC started doing Fifth Sunday service projects only this past year, but it has quickly caught on as a popular and well-attended activity. It feels good to get out into the community (and out of our comfort zones, frequently).  I have had the opportunity to sing at a senior citizens’ home, to catalog books at Castro Elementary School, and to work on some improvements on the Los Altos-Palo Alto Bike Path.

While our faith calls us to serve others, community service is, or should be, for everybody. Projects like this have shown me how easy it is to make a difference with a group of people and a few hours of time. Think how much better our communities would be if we all got in the habit of doing something like this from time to time.

The next Fifth Sunday is April 29; I’m looking forward to it. Feel free to join us, or organize your own.  You don’t have to wait for a Fifth Sunday to do it.

Photo courtesy of Tim Burks

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