First United Methodist pushes beyond church walls

Published 10:35 pm Tuesday, November 8, 2016

First United Methodist Church has left the building.

Passionate about mission work, the Washington church is looking to encourage its members to step beyond the walls of FUMC, and for the past two years, the “Church Has Left the Building” project has been doing just that.

The idea for the project originally came from Tom Jacobs, a member of the FUMC missions committee.

“His purpose was to really give an opportunity to the members of the church to be more involved in missions,” said Larry Lang, chairperson of the missions committee. “We played off of that.”

According to Lang, about 140 people from the church participated in a variety of activities on Oct. 30 for this year’s project, from stocking 50 buckets with supplies for flood victims and singing to patients at Vidant Beaufort Hospital and Ridgewood Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, to writing letters of encouragement and cleaning homes and yards for the elderly and area nonprofits.

Lang said some of the home and yard cleanings were part of a partnership with Washington Police Department’s Project I Live Alone, and participants were glad to get out and interact with residents.

“Our members had a good time doing that,” Lang said. “It was great to be able to make contact with them and to help those folks out.”

He said the church tried to organize service projects in which members of all ages could participate, and the missions committee already has plans for next year’s “Church Has Left the Building.”

FUMC received a request to renovate a house, and although the church was unable to do it this year, Lang said church members would like to set up the project for next year.

The bottom line is to spread their message to the community, going beyond the FUMC property and completing mission work right at home.

“I think that we need to, No. 1, be involved in the community and pray for the community, and to do that, you have to go outside of the walls of the church,” Lang said. “The church is not a building. It’s the people inside the building.”