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Magnolia UCC holds second Community in Service

For the second year, Magnolia UCC organized a Community in Action Sunday on Feb. 23 for the congregation and other volunteers to go into the community and serve neighbors, instead of gathering for worship.  More than 130 volunteered to participate in five projects, returning to the church for hot soup and cocoa.

Girls prepare blankets for children in Project Linus. Photos courtesy of Magnolia UCC

They made the front page of the Queen Anne and Magnolia News Content/News/Homepage-Rotating-Articles/Article/A-different-type-of-service/26/538/40558.

Marci Scott-Weis, senior pastor, said they “cleared brush, planted trees, made blankets, prepped comfort kits for the homeless, spruced up a tiny cabin village and did projects to support animals in a shelter.”

Of the 130 volunteers, 50 worked on habitat restoration and tree planting at Thorndyke Park, 25 did indoor and outdoor projects at the Seattle Animal Shelter, 40 created blankets for Project Linus for children in hospitals and entering foster care, eight created comfort kits for the Ballard Food Bank and 10 worked at the Interbay Village Tiny Cabins.

Volunteers from the church and community met at the church to start the day with a blessing and sending forth, Marci said.  They divided into five teams for the projects, and returned for soup and cocoa.

“It was an amazing morning seeing folks from our congregation and community join together to help neighbors,” she said. “We had elderly folks and preschoolers working side-by-side on projects.  We had strangers who came together for a common cause and became friends. 

“It was fun.  It was crazy busy.  It was church,” she said.

Marci said the community matters to the congregation and being of service matters, too.

“Our neighbors matter to us,” she said.

“It’s a different way to do church and be church in this world,” she said.  “Instead of being inside at church and worshiping, we are out in our community, helping in whatever ways we can.”

Several members shared their experiences.

Melissa Rankin said the Thorndyke Park project brought together 50 Scouts, baseball players, church and community members to strop invasive holly and replace it with indigenous plants.

“The hard work created camaraderie and a cooperative spirit among us,” she said.  “It provided a great opportunity to get to know each other and make a noticeable difference in our community.”

Parishioner Diane Wheeler appreciated the opportunity to make a tangible difference in her community.

She appreciated being part of a group of men and women, girls and boys of various ages and experience, giving up their morning to be part of a crew that quickly became a team clearing blueberry brambles in front of a dog play area.

“We shared who we are and became friends, laughing while pruned brambles stuck to our arms and pant legs,” she said.

Ruth Beckett found it an enriching experience.

“I met many wonderful, interesting people.  It was fun to see the little girl with unicorns on her dress on the floor pushing bits of fringe into the little opening in the fleece along with the big girls,” she said.

She enjoyed watching one of the Girl Scouts teach a girl who had been at the animal shelter how to do the fringe on the blankets.

“It was gratifying to see people invested enough in the project to take them home to finish,” Ruth said.

Amy Kover helps clear invasive holly at Throndyke Park.

Amy Kover worked at Thorndyke Park, appreciating how good it felt to move her body to something productive done outdoors.  Working two hours, she barely saw her own “dent in the cleanup,” but when she looked around at what the crew of 45 accomplished, she saw the whole park looked different.

“It was a reminder of what numbers can accomplish,” she said.

She quoted another volunteer who said: “Through this we are fostering community, moving our bodies, getting outside and accomplishing something positive for the environment. There are no downsides.”

Sue Olsen worked with the group at Interbay Village, introducing themselves to the people living there.

“We said we chose to take part in Community In Action Sunday,” she said.

One task was weeding planter boxes in community spaces.  One person commented when they finished weeding: “I can hardly wait to come back in the spring and fill the boxes with flowers.”

For information, call 206-283-1788 or email

Copyright © March 2020 - Pacific NW United Church News



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