Whatever you do, do it for the Lord
A few years ago, Erin Wathen wrote a commentary entitled “Your Church Does Not Need Volunteers.”
She introduces her view beginning with: “I know I’m not the only one who cringes when someone sees me, without kids in tow, and asks if my husband is “babysitting.” Well, no. I mean, yes, he is at home with the kids tonight. But I do not think you can effectively say “babysitting” when it is your own dang kid. I’d say we could just call that parenting.
She continues, “I feel the same when people talk about “volunteering” at church. And yes, I know it’s just a word. But it’s the wrong word, for a lot of reasons. If you ask a grandparent or an elder of your church, I’m pretty sure they will tell you that the church they grew up in never asked them to volunteer. Historically, the church has asked people to serve–as deacons, as greeters, as Sunday school teachers, or on the property committee. Whatever the job, it was considered a service. A ministry.”
But as she notes, the meaning or definition of “volunteer” has changed and perhaps it is time we stopped using the word in our Parish.
“But I balk at the secular nature of what it means to volunteer. To volunteer means that you are an outside resource, stepping in to help an organization in need. Volunteering is what we do when we pick up trash at the park, or build a house with Habitat, or help sort food at the local food pantry. Volunteering is what I do at my kids’ school on Fridays.”
“In other words, it’s what you do at a place that is important to you–but not at a place that belongs to you.”
Wathen believes that what we do with and for our Parish is so much more than just volunteering.
“And I guess that is the important distinction for me… You cannot volunteer at your own church, in the same way you cannot babysit your own kid. Because the church belongs to you in the same way your family does. It’s your own place, your own people. So, of course, you help take care of it. Of course, you do yard work and make coffee and teach the kids and sing in the choir and whatever all else it is you do for the home and the people that you love.
A volunteer, in most cases, is just visiting. A fly-by. Maybe it’s a helpful fly-by, but it’s not the same as belonging to something. It’s not the same as contributing to something bigger than you, something that’s part of who you are.”
All that said, we live in the world we live in, and we cannot realistically extract this word from the life of the church. It is both a noun and a verb, and it’s the one that just rolls off the tongue when we are asking people to come and do work. Which, in the church, we are forever asking people to do. Still, as I plan for a summer sermon series on discipleship and what it means to let the church be the church, I feel a strong nudge to challenge how we talk about–and think about–the time and energy we spend in ministry. It’s important to recognize those gifts for what they are–ministry–and I’m not sure the word “volunteer” does justice to the depths contained in the work people actually do in their churches.
Call it serving. Call it discipleship. Call it the priesthood of believers, or mission, or the ministry that we all share together. Admittedly, “Priesthood of Believers” does not look great on a t-shirt. And it maybe doesn’t invite visitors to ask you where the bathrooms are… But whatever we do, we should remember that we don’t just belong to the church–it belongs to us.
And we do not babysit that which is ours.”
So, instead of us considering an opportunity to volunteer at St. Columba Church, perhaps we need to view our role as something more. And as we change how we see our role(s), we will find our place in a Parish community that is indeed, ours.
Many of our Parish activities and organizations are for everyone, giving everyone an opportunity to contribute, to participate in age-appropriate activities that benefit our church community. Saint Columba Parish has many ways for you to become involved. Take a look at the list below and see where your talents lead you. Get in touch with the organization’s contact person and help serve our Parish.
Angel Tree Project
Our mission is to serve the poor by bringing Christ to others, sharing our treasure, and giving hope to the youngest of our community.
During the Advent season, we display gift suggestions for needy families in our area on a tree in the church.
Gifts are purchased, wrapped, and returned to the tree by a designated date.
Our gifts are then sorted and delivered to the designated families for their Christmas.
To become involved, watch the bulletin during November for information.
Bloomsburg Food Cupboard
The Bloomsburg Food Cupboard offers nutritious foods to anyone in our service area who requests help. We are open two days a week and feature have a market in which each family can choose from different categories to select the foods their families prefer.
The Food Cupboard is supported by dozens of churches, schools, organizations, and community businesses.
Tuesdays 12:30-2:30 pm and
Sundays 9:10-10:10 am
Church Environmental Ministry
Do you have a flair for decorating, a passion for design, or color, or flowers? Or are you willing to help iron occasionally or water flowers?
We are always looking for volunteers to help make the church look beautiful, especially during Easter and Christmas seasons, when lilies and poinsettias need extra loving care.
Contact the office or Rachel Lauck to leave your name, and we will be happy to contact you.
We have a small team which currently determines the selection of new books for our library, their sorting, display, and organization.
If you would like to help with this program, please call.
570.784.0801 Ext. 5
The annual Parish Picnic brings Parishioners together to enjoy one another’s company while strengthening the Parish community through fellowship in the relaxing atmosphere of a picnic.
Besides the church-provided meat dish and the shared dished brought by Parishioners, we offer a 50/50 drawing and other picnic day activities.
Bill May (below, first image) traditionally donated buns, and grills are provided by Bissinger Catering.
Parish Picnic Memories
from 1981 to 2019
Our picnic is usually held on the third Sunday in August, with planning beginning earlier in the summer. Click on any image to activate the slide show.
Several men and women from the Parish initiated a volleyball night in the school gymnasium that takes place every Monday night beginning at 7.30.
This is a fun activity that includes keeping score and bragging rights. This activity is open to young adults and more veteran ones so bring good footwear, knee support, if you need any, and your best bumps and spikes and join in on the fun.
Volunteer Parish Mailings
A group of volunteers which are called upon twice a year to assist with stuffing envelopes and organizing mailings, for instance, the Advent and Lenten mailings to all Parishioners.
Anyone interested is invited to call the Parish office and be added to the list. This is not a binding responsibility; the office will call and check up on your availability as needed.
Winterfest is our annual craft, art, food, musical, and friendship kickoff to the Christmas season. For more news and details about Winterfest, join us on our Facebook page.
A WINTERFEST THANK YOU: A heartfelt thanks to all who generously contributed their time, attention, talents, advice and donations to make WinterFest 2019 a great success! Thanks to all who attended and contributed by purchasing items from the Dollar Tree, vendors, chances on our raffles, and food from our kitchen and baked goods donated by so many of you, our parishioners! We can’t forget all of those who worked in the kitchen preparing, serving and cleaning up all the great-tasting food that was made, brought, donated etc. We were fortunate again this year to have more beautiful wood crafts for sale along with a raffle by “The Tuesday Crew.” In addition to decorating ginger-bread cookies and purchasing “Gingerbread Houses” to decorate at home, the children en-joyed face painting and making their own Christmas ornaments.
We were blessed to have many talented music and dance performers this year – a huge thank you to the Northern Columbia Ballet, the Harmony Arts Ensembles, Steve and the Kokoskettes and the students of Terri Chayko.
By partnering up with the “Coming Home for Christmas Festival,” we were able to bring more of the Bloomsburg community together by being part of the “The Jolly Trail.” We are grateful to Fishing Creek Transportation for their complimentary bus services!
Preparation for WinterFest starts early with wrapping, sorting and tagging over 4000 items for the Dollar Tree. If you would like to help with WinterFest, please call the church or school office. WinterFest 2020 will be held on Saturday, November 19, 2020.
We are starting now to collect items to use for our 2020 Dollar Tree. The red WinterFest tote is available at the Iron Street church en-trance. We can use gift bags, paper and plastic treat bags. Check out after Christmas sales, think of regifting, give us your Christmas decorations that you do not need anymore, etc. Thanks so much for your generosity in 2019 and thanks in advance for your continued support in 2020.
Click on any image below to activate the slide show.
Friends, food, fun at Winterfest in July
Winterfest in July. Thanks to Alvin and Elaine Luschas for sponsoring a Winterfest summer reunion at their home for our Parish’s Winterfest volunteers. Even with a brief rain shower, the day was a wonderful time for all. Photography by Joyce.
Let’s get to know one another, after the 10:30 a.m. Mass for coffee and light refreshments! As part of our Parish community, St. Columba sponsors monthly get-togethers in the cafeteria.
If you would like to bring baked goods for the next fellowship, talk to Chrissy in the cafeteria or email Chrissy at Christine.firstname.lastname@example.org
Check the bulletin and Parish News for the next one.