Picture of home before Life Giving Weekend. C/O Hillside Community Church.
It may be nine months away, but members of Hillside Community Church in Keller are already planning the 5th annual Life Giving Weekend event for this year.
Once a year, Hillside cancels its weekend services and sends its members out into the community to perform volunteer works for those in need instead. The event, known as Life Giving Weekend, began about four years ago and has increased in popularity ever since.
“It’s an opportunity for us as a church to go out and serve, to leave the building and share Christ’s love in a positive way,” Hillside Community and Discipleship Pastor Dave Bream said.
In November of 2011, the volunteers focused their efforts in a neighborhood in north Fort Worth, where they repaired at least 18 homes; adding things like drywall and central air and heat. Other members spent the weekend visiting local retirement centers and offering health exams to those in need at nearby Terry Park. The weekend culminated with a big carnival for the local children, complete with food, games and a clown.
Hillside took a slight risk by scheduling the service event on Thanksgiving weekend, Bream said. But despite the holiday weekend, attendance numbers remained high, with about 800 volunteers of all ages. The holiday weekend gave members more time to participate and also allowed them to share some traditional Thanksgiving fare with those who would have gone without.
“It was neat to do it Thanksgiving weekend, we even had 20 to 30 Thanksgiving meals that we took down to the neighborhood and gave to families,” Bream said. “The long weekend allowed more of our members to help out.”
Now, Hillside is hoping for a repeat of last fall’s success. Preparations are already underway for this year’s LGW, which will again fall on Thanksgiving weekend. Leaving the pews and hitting the pavement is a traditional that the church hopes to continue for years to come.
“It does more for our congregation to get out of our comfort zone and serve others. It breaks down barriers and lets us get to know the residents in the communities we help.”