Every spring families from the Gateway Church in Komoka roll up their sleeves to help with a seasonal clean-up at Country Terrace long-term care home. That’s the plan for this upcoming Sunday as well.
Congregation members will be sprucing up the outside of the Komoka home, from mulching the gardens, to picking up trash and washing windows.
A pastor with the church, Blair Mercer, highlights the rich opportunity this activity provides to bring families together in service of others.
“There are so many things that pull the family apart in community,” says Mercer. “There are a lot of activities for kids and a lot of activities for adults, but not always something families can do together.
“But helping Country Terrace is an event that includes both kid-friendly and adult-friendly work.”
Mercer says he’ll be at the home with his family as well on Sunday.
“One of my slogans is, ‘None live for themselves,’ and I just find that is a good way of life. You don’t have to believe in God to believe in a community where you all help one another out.”
The spring clean-up at the long-term care home is one of the ways Gateway Church is seeking to live out an intention to be a vibrant part of the local community, which Mercer describes as already very community-minded.
“When I moved to town four years ago as we were launching the church, I saw how community and caring for one another was a very essential part of the DNA of Komoka,” he says.
“It’s such a natural thing in Komoka to volunteer for organizations, to think about kids, to think about the community, to fundraise for different things.”
Mercer says he was committed from the start to ensuring that Gateway Church had that same sort of spirit and intention.
“I don’t like it when churches start to become more so an island to themselves with all of their own events,” he says.
“I felt like a great way to be part of the community was to help others run the events that are important to them. And so the church can be viewed as one of the cogs in town that wants to be for the people.”
The clean-up is only one of the ways the church is engaged with Country Terrace. Mercer also hosts a monthly service as well as memorial services. He is also on call to provide spiritual care to residents, including when they are in palliative care.
“It’s a great relationship (between the home and the church),” life enrichment co-ordinator Christie Patterson says, noting Mercer’s support has been especially appreciated in the absence of a former well-loved chaplain.
Besides Gateway Church, Country Terrace welcomes representatives of several other local churches, who host services and/or singing events on a regular basis.
“We have quite a few churches (involved here), which is great, because that is what this population grew up on, so I’m glad that we can bring that to the home for them,” Patterson says.
April 10 to 16 has been designated National Volunteer Week in Canada.
To share a story to celebrate a volunteer or group of volunteers at your home, please contact the OMNIway at deron(at)axiomnews.com, or call 800-294-0051, ext. 23.