Tuesday, September 8th, 2009
By Shelley Grieshop
Community Servants Day: Local pastors to kick off Walk-The-Talk
  A group of area ministers and community volunteers from every walk of life are teaming up Oct. 3 to perform a variety of services for local families in need.
Community Servants Day is expected to become an annual service event in the local area. Organizers hope to draw hundreds of area volunteers to join the "Walk-The-Talk" project.
"This last year, the Celina Ministerial (Association) pastors prayed together in each other's churches," says the Rev. Paul Baglien, pastor of St. John Lutheran Church, Celina. "We asked ourselves, 'What more can we do to help the people we serve?' "
The idea that evolved is simple and genuine: Unite the community by bringing local residents together to help their neighbors. "Servant teams" will be sent out to homes across the Grand Lake area to perform home repairs, yard work, clean-up tasks and home visits, says the Rev. Rich Field, who heads up a community service organization called Serving Friends & Families Ministries, based in Celina. Project ideas can be submitted until Sept. 21.
"Point" people at churches, businesses, agencies and organizations will be asked to help gather volunteers and coordinate projects with the help of Field, the program director.
More than two dozen project ideas already have been submitted, Baglien and Field say. Any projects not completed on Oct. 3 will be carried out by "servants" in the weeks to come, they say.
Baglien says Field is an excellent choice as director of the project since he sees first-hand the needs of area residents through his ministry.
"We don't always see the suffering in our own backyard," Field says. "We have a multitude of needs right here. I realized five years ago what those needs were and I didn't expect it."
Alcohol, drugs and homelessness have "strongholds" on the local communities, he explains. The ongoing economic crisis has contributed, he says.
"People are out of work, some are starving and most people don't even know about their suffering. Those kinds of things are not appealing to the white collar eye," adds Field, whose ministry currently serves about 500 families in a five-county area including Mercer and Auglaize.
Baglien says he and Field often are contacted by organizations - even government agencies such as Job and Family Services - to help families they cannot serve due to dwindling funds and resources.
The pastors also hope the Walk-The-Talk project brings local churches together. There's strength in numbers, they say.
"We have a vision the ministerial association will triple after Oct. 3," Field says.
The pastors say their mission in today's world is not found inside church walls.
"We must do kingdom work rather than castle work," Field explains. "That's how we truly serve the people."

Servants Day:
What: Uniting area communities to provide support for families in need
When: Oct. 3
Where: To begin at St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Celina
Details: The planned annual event will begin at 8:30 a.m. with a special kick-off ceremony led by Celina Mayor Sharon LaRue and city council President Sophia Rodriguez.
Everyone with a "servant's heart" is asked to give time, prayer or monetary donations for the cause. Volunteers can serve as long as they wish throughout the day. Teams will be sent out to homes across the Grand Lake area to perform home repairs, yard work, clean-up tasks, home visits and other services for those in need. Project ideas should be submitted by Sept. 21 for evaluation.
Those interested in participating on Oct. 3 can sign up through their church or any participating agency, business or organization, or by calling 419-586-3767 or 419-586-2332. Inquiries can be sent to communityservantsday@yahoo.com.
A $5 donation includes a Walk-The-Talk T-shirt and dinner at 6 p.m. at St. John Lutheran Church, Celina. Additional donations can be made payable to Serving Friends and Families Ministries, 1978 Havemann Road, #105, Celina, OH 45822.
- Shelley Grieshop
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