Church takes action to help community
At Cape Coral First United Methodist Church, being a member of a congregation is more than just sitting in a pew and praying. It’s getting out into the community and serving others.
On Saturday, most of the congregation in one of Cape Coral’s largest churches took to the streets to help anyone who needed it for the church’s eighth annual Operation Love Your Neighbor event.
More than 300 church members, clad in OLYN T-shirts, met the people of Lee County in their hour of need, doing the little things that add up fast with the help of an entire flock.
Nako Kellum, associate pastor at the church, said instead of being in a church, the flock goes into the community and help people with their passion.
“The neat thing is we started doing this and some in our church decided they wanted to do this every month, so it’s become a year-round thing,” Kellum said. “This congregation is very serving and welcoming.”
The event kicked off with a breakfast at 8:30 a.m. From there, the congregation split up and did their assigned tasks at more than three dozen locations throughout Lee County.
They did things such as visiting seniors in several assisted living and skilled nursing facilities, working at Special Equestrians, coupon clipping for the military families, sewing dresses, providing free blood pressure checks at the Cape Coral Farmers Market, cooking at the CCMI and helping Cape Coral’s Special Populations program, among other things.
Terri Monarchio, a lay leader at church, was busy sewing mastectomy pillows for those who just had an operation as well as dresses for people in Haiti.
“Our youth group did free car washes at Pizza Hut and drive-by prayers nearby. We did so much I can’t name them all,” Monarchio said. “We’re all over. We are trying to become the hands and feet of Jesus. We take pride in helping all our neigthbors.”
Terri’s husband, Jim, worked with the Devereaux kids, a group of foster families who care for children with disabilities.
“We basically had a day of fun playing games with the families and counselors at Devereaux. We made cookies and had an enjoyable time,” Jim said. “The real angels of the world are the foster parents who take care of these kids. It’s all on them.”
Ron Sutton, who got the rooms inside the church ready for activity, said
“We take pride in our outreach, and we show that we’re not just open on Sundays,” Sutton said “We have good hard-working folks. Even those who live up north come to the church and are part of the congregation.”
Pastor Jay Therrell started the event in 2008 as a way to get into the community. What started as 10 to 12 groups slowly grew to encompass much of Lee County.
The weekend climaxed with a celebration of their work Sunday during the church’s 8:45 and 11 a.m. worship services.
Cape Coral First United Methodist Church is located at 4118 Coronado Parkway.