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May 16, 2014

Out the church doors, into the world

PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh United Methodist joins thousands of Methodists globally Sunday morning in “Change the World,” community service projects for all ages and abilities.

“It gets the church outside of the building to make a difference in the world,” the Rev. Phil Richards, pastor of the Plattsburgh United Methodist Church, said of the May 17 and 18 event. “It’s kind of called 'The church has left the building.'"

The initiative was started in 2010. Author Michael Slaughter’s “Change the World: Recovering the Message and Mission of Jesus” challenged Christians to step outside their sanctuaries and into their communities.

Locally, church members will be working at the Plattsburgh Community Garden and on the Senior Center. Volunteers will also work at the Adirondack Humane Society and Elmore SPCA.

“We’re going to some of our members’ homes to do some yard work, whatever we can do for those 82 to 100 years old,” said Penny Cowan, a church member organizing the event.

“We’re also having events and activities in the church for those who aren’t able to go out and do those sorts of things. They will be writing cards and letters to shut-ins and members who don’t live here any longer. We’re going to two sites for the Plattsburgh Community Garden to do some weeding and yard work there. There was talk of building a fence. I’m not sure if that has transpired yet.”

'TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER'

At the church, there will only be one shortened worship service at 9 a.m.

“After that service, Pastor Phil will commission us to go out into the world,” Cowan said.

“Basically, it’s to encourage members of the church to go outside of the community,” Richards said. “Often times what happens in churches, we do a lot of good work but it’s always within our congregation. Change the World came up with an idea that young people and people are looking for projects, for opportunities to make a difference in some people’s lives. So what happened? Five years ago, the United Methodist Church began the Change the World program. It encourages churches to think outside the box, so to speak, and to think outside of ourselves into the larger world, the larger community. This has been going on for five years and has been building each year.”

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