Presbyterians Today

FEB-MAR 2018

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14 FEBRUARY/MARCH 2018 | Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay SERVANTS P ray for the sick, preach the gospel, break the bread, share the cup, drive four-plus hours to the airport at the crack of dawn to deliver supplies to hurricane- ravaged Puerto Rico. That's exactly what the Rev. Fernando Rodríguez was doing in late November. With a rental truck filled with more than four pallets of water and three pallets of food, the pastor for missional renewal at Kirk in the Hills Church in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, was on his way to deliver the items to Chicago's O'Hare Airport. A connection was made with an airline employee who helped to coordinate the drop-off. Project Puerto Rico, though, was just the tip of the mission iceberg for those who call Kirk in the Hills home. And Rodríguez was just one of the many hands reaching out to help others. Last fall, Kirk in the Hills launched its loftiest mission project to date — the 2K Service Challenge, which set a goal for its congrega- tion to log 2,000 service hours in November. The challenge officially kicked off the first Sunday of the month with a service fair during coffee hour, with many of the local agencies the church partners with present to call attention to the need for volunteers. "God is already doing things in our community, so we find ways to team up with existing organiza- tions and help them where we can," Rodríguez said. The service challenge also was an opportunity for Kirk in the Hills to establish new ties with other organizations such as Hope Against Trafficking, which provides housing for adult female survivors of sex and labor trafficking in Southeast Michigan. With 2,000 hours as a goal, there was a project for everyone to participate in. The youth got busy packing Thanksgiving food boxes. Older folks helped by collecting items for people in Puerto Rico. The young and young at heart got to work raking and cleaning up yards for neighbors. The Kirk in the Hills pastoral staff spent an afternoon sorting clothing at a thrift store. Even families with young children got to log service hours. "I took my two children who are 3 and 5 to the nursing home and we played bingo," Rodríguez said. To generate excitement and promote the service challenge, Kirk in the Hills used social media and technology. While sorting clothing, senior pastor Nate Phillips took to Facebook Live to give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the work involved. Videos encouraging others to sign up and serve were filmed and streamed on Vimeo and the church's website. Being mission-minded is not a new thing for Kirk in the Hills. The church, organized in 1947, was the dream of Detroit businessman Col. Edwin S. George. In the early '30s, George noticed a need for mission in his community, and he set up a fund for the start of a church. He later donated his home and sprawl- ing estate, which would become the Kirk in the Hills campus. Even Church surpasses mission challenge More than 2,000 service hours logged BY DONNA FRISCHKNECHT JACKSON Many of the mission projects were opportunities for young and old to serve alongside one another. Here, dinner is served at a local shelter. COURTESY OF KIRK IN THE HILLS CHURCH

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