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Mar 06, 2012 | Luke Blount

St. Andrew's "Has Left The Building" Again


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St. Andrew's, Pearland, once again sent their parishioners into the community on Sunday to volunteer at various organizations. The event, dubbed "The Church Has Left the Building," first took place in August 2010. It was such a success that the congregation has repeated it three times.  


On Sunday, the members of the congregation partnered with several organizations to send almost 200 parishioners into the community for service projects. Some volunteers worked at the Christian Helping Hands, a food pantry started by St. Andrew's. Others worked at local elementary schools or with Keep Pearland Beautiful doing yard work.


"People now don't want to just give money to something," said event organizer Debbie Allensworth. "They want to get their hands dirty and feel connected to the outreach work, and we have found that when we connect them with the outreach experience, they become more connected with each other and the church as well."


Several parishioners helped families living in mobile homes in Manvel, Texas. One woman's trailer had been burglarized. Almost everything had been stolen from her trailer including the stove, cabinet covers and even electrical outlets. St. Andrew's gave her a new stove, microwave and convection oven in addition to performing general maintenance.


Another trailer was the home to 22 people. A pastor from Baytown had taken in several families that would have otherwise been homeless. At one point the trailer housed 30 people. St. Andrew's provided a new stove and replaced some insulation. They also planted a garden that the families can share and painted the trailers. By fixing a couple of the other trailers on site, some of the residents will be able to move.


All of the work sites held devotionals, and one group visited a nursing home to hold a worship service for the residents.


Prior to starting the day, the parishioners held an 8 a.m. commissioning service and grabbed breakfast tacos to go. One vestry member stayed behind at the church building to welcome any visitors who may be unaware of the event. 


"We had two visitors this time," said the Rev. Jim Liberatore, rector. "Every time we have done this we have had visitors. We have one person stay behind to let them know what we are doing, get to know them and offer them some breakfast so that they feel comfortable."


St. Andrew's is planning another The Church Has Left the Building event in August, but they have not set a firm date. The congregation also holds a regular event called "Andy2Go," which takes the church out of the building and into the community, holding about a dozen services around town at parishioners' homes and in public spaces. 


"This is our identity," Liberatore said. "Some churches have great worship or education. Our identity is in outreach. We have been trying to develop an Episcopal church that appeals to younger people because we want the church to keep on. Younger people want a hands-on Christianity. They want to serve, and this is extremely appealing to them."


To learn more about St. Andrew's, visit their website.