First Presbyterian Church, of Milton, at the annual block party the church hosts

Churches build up their communities

By Tricia Kline For The Daily Item

As welfare reform debates continue, people of faith are making tireless efforts to meet the needs of those less fortunate in their communities, making a far-reaching impact in a way, church leaders say, the government never could.

Local church leaders say providing food, clothing, service projects and the like to the struggling in their communities is simply part of what they are called to do as followers of Christ.

“I think that’s what the Lord would have us to do—demonstrate our love,” said Steve Shirk, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Milton.

“It’s really about building relationships and friendships, and giving our church people a chance to meet our neighbors.”

According to Kay Painter, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Mount Carmel, “It is not only important but essential for churches to serve those who are in need. It is a part of who we are as people of faith. Jesus calls us to serve others in whatever way we can. We are to practice our faith, put it into action—not sit idly by as people suffer.

“Jesus provides the ultimate role model for us,” she said, adding that it’s important for people to know they cannot “work our way to heaven. We simply serve others as an expression of our faith in a compassionate and loving God.”

Adds Terry Smith, superintendent of the Eastern Pennsylvania District of the Christian and Missionary Alliance: “Our love for the community should be a reflection of the kind of love He has shown all of us.” Read more