Last updated: February 17. 2013 2:51AM - 38 Views

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For many of the religious persuasion, Sunday mornings are often spent in a place of worship with fellow church members.

For one local church, the typical Sunday morning spent indoors at the service was turned into a day full of activities in all parts of the community for both church and non-church members.

The church had left the building.

And so was the namesake for the project from Dorranceton United Methodist Church in Kingston, which saw great success for its first year doing the ??The Church Has Left the Building? program.

??I had done something like this before at another church I was at,? Pastor Nick Keeney said. ??I wanted to try it out here, give the church an opportunity to reach out to and work in the community.?

The day brought 14 different projects for church members, as well as walk-ins and non-church members, to participate in, from a sing-along at the Veterans Medical Center to a mini spa day at Ruth??s Place.

??We wanted to make sure to have something for everyone to do,? Keeney said. ??Whether you??re 5 or 85, we wanted to be sure there was an activity available.?

The early morning found a group of clowns walking around the church grounds in preparation for a Clown Worship Service at ManorCare.

??I??m terrified of clowns,? said parish member Janet Mitchell of Shavertown, clad in suspenders and a red wig, face fully done up, ??but I figured hey, I better break that fear. We??ve really had a lot of fun getting ready for this.?

Not long after the clowns?? preparation was complete, a bevy of students from both Wilkes University and Penn State descended on the church, all ready to be a part of the cleanup of Reese Park in Kingston.

??The turnout for that mission in particular has been incredible,? said Kriss Kross, one of the members of the core group who helped organize the event. ??It??s so important to get youth involved and the fact that this many students are coming out to help us is wonderful.?

By ??this many,? Kross pointed to a group that made up much of the Wilkes soccer team.

??We do community service projects every so often, and when I heard this one was coming up I thought it would be a good idea for us to lend a hand,? team member Nick Patricia said. ??I had a sign-up sheet available one day after practice and ended up with 27 guys.?

While some were out in the community doing activities, many stayed at the church. From DUMC??s very hall, people were helping children in Africa.

Church members baked and packaged Welsh cookies to be sold to benefit ??Nothing But Nets,? a global campaign to raise awareness and funds for fighting malaria, a leading cause of death among children in Africa.

Members also made toys, helped at the Wilkes-Barre free kitchen, and assembled ??ugly quilts,? sleeping bags for the homeless that are made out of scrap materials.

And all the while there was quiet time made available in the church sanctuary for those who wanted to celebrate their Sunday worship in the way they were used to.

??Honestly, though, a majority of the church has signed up and is out there, helping out in some way,? Kross said. ??Between that and the people we had walk in off the street, or volunteer their time even if they aren??t a member, it??s been incredible. This is a wonderful day.?

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