Service is Worship: Church Stocks CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets

Kathryn Goldsmith, Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church | June 7, 2013

Members of Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas assembled 200 CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets on May 26. Photo: Mindy Baxter

Members of Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas assembled 200 CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets on May 26. Photo: Mindy Baxter

One year ago, Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas launched a concept called “Micro Mission Trip.” The idea was simple – engage more members in service by offering short service opportunities during the typical Sunday worship time slot four times a year.

The idea of worshipping and serving simultaneously was born in a Community Outreach Council meeting.  “Since Saturdays are so crazy for many people, we thought about Sundays,” said the Rev. Elizabeth McLean, Preston Hollow’s Associate Pastor of Mission and Evangelism.  “Then I remembered that the wordabad in Hebrew is the root word for ‘serve,’ ‘work,’ ‘till’ and ‘worship.’”

The Micro Mission Trips have been a huge hit among families, and the fourth was successfully completed on Sunday, May 26.   Approximately 200 worshippers gathered at the church to stock cleanup buckets for Church World Service viaPresbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA).

This activity was planned before the devastating tornadoes that struck the southern United States in late May.   The tragedy that befell Granbury, Texas, May 15, energized the May 26 buckets assembly Micro Mission Trip.  For our congregation, this tragedy hit so close to home – just 75 miles from Dallas.

Sue Suneson, Director of Children’s Ministries, shared a reflection of her experiences serving on May 26:

“With the memory of tornado destruction still fresh, our mission was to fill buckets with cleaning supplies, to help families affected by disaster. So, what is a Micro Mission Trip experience like?

There was conversation and laughter as we gathered, and dress was casual.  Children inspected the numbered tables with cleaning supplies that were arrayed around the room.

We traded sitting in pews for sitting on the upturned buckets we were about to fill, and registered our attendance by signing a poster board taped to the wall.

Pastor Paul Seelman led our worship of liturgy, scripture reading, prayer and work. The task felt like a scavenger hunt, as we moved from station to station, collecting the needed items. Children of all ages delighted in searching out the table that held the next item on their list. In a remarkably short time, 200 buckets were filled, the buckets were loaded for delivery, and then we received the benediction. “

Kathryn Goldsmith is Director of Communications for Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church, Dallas, Texas