Heights church forgoes worship on June 2 to engage in community service
For the seventh year in a row, the First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland (FBC) will forgo worship on the first Sunday in June in order to use the day to engage in projects of service to the wider community. Members of the church have organized 12 projects that will enable people of all ages and abilities to serve.
Faith in Action Sunday began as a suggestion from one of the members of the congregation who had heard of another church doing it. In recent years, 200 people from the congregation have participated.
“I’ve been asked many times why we would miss a Sunday of worship to hold Faith in Action Sunday,” said Rev. Dr. Martin Rolfs Massaglia, senior pastor of FBC. “We are doing it as an outreach and as a witness—as a visible testimony to our neighbors and to the city that service and mission is one of the highest priorities of our congregation. We’re doing it so that some in our church who have been afraid to stick their toe in the water of mission and service will see how accessible it is. And we’re doing it to tangibly make the point that worship which does not lead us to service is empty.”
Since the beginning, Faith in Action has partnered FBC with existing service agencies in Greater Cleveland, such as Family Promise, the Zelma George Shelter, the 2100 Lakeside Men’s Shelter, Thistledown Race Track Ministry and the Judson Park Retirement Community. This year, a crew from FBC will help prepare a lot that will be turned into an urban farm this summer by the Cleveland Botanical Garden’s Green Corps, a program that engages teens in sustainable agriculture.
First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland is located at 3630 Fairmount Blvd. For more information and a list of this year’s projects, visit www.firstbaptistcleveland.org.
Jae Williams is the director of youth ministries and the Next Generation After School Basketball Program at FBC, as well as an inspirational radio broadcaster on ESPN 1540-AM, KNR2.