Churches to skip services, clean up St. Louis instead

By Ralph Echtinaw

Fresh off their Hope House homeless shelter success, a group of six St. Louis churches will conduct a volunteer spring cleanup on Sunday, May 5, in lieu of church services.

“Rather than having a service in our churches, were going to go BE a service,” said Pastor Jake Gregory of the St. Louis Church of the Nazarene.

The project is called “I Love My City Sunday” and includes the St. Louis Church of Christ, the Church of God, Resurrection Life, United Methodist, the Church on the Hill and the Church of the Nazarene.

Nazarene-2“We could conceivably have 200 or more people there,” Gregory said.

Volunteers will gather at 9 a.m. at Resurrection Life for “a devotional time to get everybody’s heart set,” Gregory said, and to get organized.

They plan to paint the municipal pool house on North Mill Street, spread mulch at the library, pick up trash around town and clear yard debris from private homes to be designated by the Gratiot County Commission on Aging. Pickup of a limited number of larger items will occur as well. “We’re working with the city on that,” Gregory said. “They have some ideas on how to go about that best.”

Two 30-yard rubbish bins have been donated by His Way for the project.

If you’d like to participate, contact any of the aforementioned churches to sign up. Or just show up an May 5 and they will put you to work. The Church on the Hill will be a prayer site for those who can’t do physical labor.

Gregory expects the work to be done by 1 p.m., and the Methodist church will feed volunteers at that time.

If you are a senior citizen and would like to be on the list to have your yard cleaned, contact the Commission on Aging’s Coordinator of Volunteers, Sue Koch, by email at skoch@gratiotmi.com or by phone at (989) 875-5346.

The Commission on Aging “cannot guarantee that the requests will be completed as our regular yard cleanup up is conducted by service groups, not COA employees,” said COA Director Jen Cook via email.

“We are very thankful that the six local churches are willing to provide this wonderful service as we are always looking for service groups to complete the requests COA receives for yard cleanup,” Cook continued. “This is a wonderful concept and many community members will benefit from this collaborative effort.”

Hope House update

The Hope House homeless shelter at the Church of the Nazarene closed for the season on Saturday, April 6, and will re-open in early November, Gregory said.

“We had an overwhelmingly successful season,” Gregory said. There were “no significant problems. Nothing that we didn’t prepare for.”

Folks who work third shift in their jobs volunteered for third shift at Hope House.

Out of 23 guests who were sheltered, Hope House personnel managed to help one get an apartment. Two others found jobs.

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