Nevada County churches collaborate on community service projects
March 20, 2017
To learn more about the LiNC Service Project, scheduled for April 29 and 30, call Sierra Presbyterian Church at 530-265-3291.
Janet Lowell — a member of Sierra Presbyterian Church in Nevada City — had always marveled at the impressive number of community service projects offered by western Nevada County churches. Last year, as she began organizing yet another project at her own congregation, she got to thinking.
"Wouldn't it be great if we all did this together?" she thought.
In December of 2015, Lowell approached the Rev. Dan Prout, a Presbyterian minister and president of Sierra Ministries International, about coordinating a unified service effort with a coalition of Christian congregations. He shared the proposed idea with area churches through his organization's network and that's when it caught fire, said Lowell.
Serving as co-coordinators, Prout and Lowell launched the "LiNC Service Project," with LiNC standing for "Love in Nevada County."
Long list of projects, participating churches
With members from different congregations working together last spring, volunteers rolled up their sleeves and fanned out all over western Nevada County to work on much-needed projects, such as cleaning up public parks, organizing nonprofit thrift stores, singing at convalescent homes, painting bleachers and safety stripes on stairs at Nevada Union High School, writing letters of appreciation, cleaning up Wolf Creek, sprucing up preschools, volunteering with the Friendship Club, building a shed for KARE Crisis Nursery and many, many more.
The collaborative effort was so successful that Lowell and Prout are again heading up a LiNC Service Project, scheduled for April 29 and 30. The second annual project's slogan is, "We will never change the world by going to church; we will change the world by being the church."
This year, 13 churches are leading 39 community service projects, with a total 29 organizations involved in the effort. Much time has been spent "whittling down" the list of most-needed projects and coordinating with nonprofit organizations, said Lowell.
"More than 800 people participated last year over the one weekend," she said. "But some projects went on for weeks. Each congregation came up with their own projects and each has a captain with some level of expertise."
Growing together to serve community
More churches have joined the effort this spring and others are still welcome to join, added Lowell. The tentative list includes Abundant Life Community Church, Bethel Church, Calvary Bible Church, Combie Bible Church, Emmanuel Episcopal Church, First Baptist Church of Grass Valley, Foothill Community Church, New Covenant Baptist Church, Peace Lutheran Church, Grass Valley Seventh-Day Adventist Church , Word-A-Live Family Church and Twin Cities Church.
Projects are open to every level of ability, said Lowell, who estimated that last year's effort amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of donated labor and materials, and this year is expected to be larger. The event will kick off with a large rally, where all volunteers come together.
"The socialization part of the event is fun," she said. "It's a chance to meet people from other congregations, get outside ourselves and do what we're called to do."
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com.