Church is giving back through service projects

As their 50th anniversary approached this year, members of the West Linn Lutheran Church decided that the best way to celebrate would be to help others in the community.

According to Ministry Operations Coordinator Julie Mankin, they wanted to “branch out boldly and get out in the community.” To that end, the church formally challenged each of its members to perform at least 50 hours of community service over the course of a year, from June 9, 2013, to June 8, 2014.

As part of that challenge, the church is also offering a “Saturday Service Service” — or “S Cubed” as some members like to call it — every Saturday at 5 p.m. The first of these services was June 29.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Jan Sickert, of West Linn, pruned trees at Camp Lutherwood in Cheshire as part of a past volunteer effort.

Mankin said the idea is to provide a more informal environment where attendees can discuss community service opportunities before sharing a Bible reading and taking communion.

“It’s a different type of service, not as traditional,” Mankin said. “It’s much more community driven, and you get to talk to others during the service as opposed to being quiet.”

The hope is that those Saturday services will help form larger groups to tackle different projects, as opposed to church members branching off into their own individual efforts.

“We want to emphasize the Saturday service,” Mankin said, “and go en masse, as a group, and have an impactful kind of day.”

The first group project this summer was an ivy pull at Mary S. Young State Park. Coming up, volunteers will head to the West Linn Fine Arts Festival at the Marylhurst University campus and they also plan on helping out at the Oregon City Children’s Center.

Aside from those projects, Mankin said the church is open to suggestions.

“We’re looking for help to help, so to speak,” Mankin said. “It would be helpful to hear from the community that, ‘I have this lady next door who needs her house painted,’ or ‘There’s a tree in my yard that I need to remove.’”

The volunteer outings are open to those of all ages and physical capabilities, and community members from outside the church are also welcome to join.

Purely by coincidence, the church’s community service effort is happening in conjunction with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America “God’s Work. Our Hands” event in September. On Sept. 8, the ELCA will ask each of its 4 million members nationwide — including those from West Linn Lutheran Church — to join in a “dedicated day of service.”

Sevice-minded community members certainly don’t need to wait that long to help though, and anyone with project ideas can either attend a Saturday service or contact Mankin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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