May 19 was not a typical Sunday for the congregation at St. James’ Episcopal Church in Skaneateles.
The church held only one mass, an abbreviated 9 a.m. service, and then sent out more than 100 people clad in matching red T-shirts to participate in various community service projects.
The church’s first ever “Day of Community Service” was held this day because it was the Day of Pentecost, St. James’ Rector Becky Coerper said.
The Day of Pentecost in the Bible was the day when the holy spirit told the disciples of Jesus to go and do service in the world, so some churches do a day of service on Pentecost to “enact the gospel,” Coerper said.
In addition to volunteering to help others, the day was also about sacrificing the church’s normal Sunday schedule of three services.
“This day is about taking the thing in our life that is most important and sacrificing it to serve the community,” Coerper said.
More than 100 people volunteered and were split up into about 30 groups. Some did projects in Skaneateles like sweeping the streets and helping elderly church members with work around the house.
One group stayed at St. James and worked to prepare food to be sent to the Samaritan Center in Syracuse and school supplies to be sent to Meachem Elementary School in Syracuse.
Others drove farther away to work in places such as the Refugee Resettlement House in Syracuse, Chapel House in Auburn and Matthew 25 Farm in Tully.
Joe Genco is the editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.