Cicero UMC takes on community projects

— “Many people don’t realize that some of our local residents choose between spending money to buy food and doing their laundry,” Ilacqua said. “Providing pet food will take one stress off struggling families.”

Ilacqua was pleased that some of the new ideas came from parishioners this year.

“One of the interesting things this year, in the past we’ve arranged all the projects and asked people to sign up. But this year, groups within the church just came up with their own and went with it,” she said. “We didn’t even know about a couple of them at the beginning. I think that’s a great thing that people are thinking about it without us coming up with all the ideas.”

The annual event takes months to plan and multiple volunteers to pull off. But in the end, it’s all worth it to connect the church to the community and accomplish necessary community projects. Moreover, it helps people — those who attend Cicero UMC and non-members — have a better understanding of what the church does. For those who already belong to the church, Be the Church Sunday teaches them how they can improve their neighborhoods.

“Part of it is it’s a teachable time,” Laird said. “How do we go out and be in ministry and mission together? The church doesn’t have to go out and organize an event every time for someone to go do something, but organizing an event where we’re all doing that on a Sunday and we’re doing it as a group, even if we’re in a bunch of different places, it helps people know that we’re here. It also helps people learn how to go out and find something to do in the community to make it better. And we’re teaching them how to do that while we’re doing this.”

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