Doing unto others: Neighbors help neighbors through iServe

July, 2010 Posted in Community

­­By Mary OwenVolunteers painted a bridge in Stayton during iServe 2009.  The bridge was painted at the request of the City of Stayton.

When local Christians took the biblical edict to “love one another” straight to their communities, a neighbor-helping-neighbor ministry was birthed.

Now four years later, more than 800 iServe volunteers were expected to serve their communities on June 26 in myriad ways, from painting the Westown wall to clearing Scotch Broom and other noxious weeds from neighborhood parks.

“Each year, iServe has grown,” said Tim Schabel, who founded the outreach on the conviction that “Christians should aspire to a servant heart.”

Schabel, lead pastor at Foothills Church in Stayton, saw iServe come to fruition through the work of missions and outreach pastor Tod Schlomann and layman Tim Hophan.

Some 300 people turned out that first year to spruce up neighborhood facilities after Schlomann pitched the idea to city entities and the North Santiam School District.

“This year we will be in Stayton, Sublimity, Aumsville, Lyons, Mill City, Gates, Scio and Jefferson,” Schabel said prior to the event. “Some of the churches involved are Jefferson Baptist Church, Mt. View Wesleyan Church in Aumsville, and Foothills Church people will be all over the area.”

“Our church is participating in this event because we want to make a statement that we love, support and are committed to our community,” said Mike Dedera, pastor of Jefferson First Baptist. “Churches in Jefferson love the community, pray for the community and are passionate about serving the community.”

Dedera believes “there is no preaching in this world like the preaching of a servant’s heart.”
Sites to be spruced up included North Santiam School District schools, Aumsville Elementary School, Jefferson Middle and Elementary schools and district offices, Gates Elementary School, Stayton’s Westown Wall and Riverfront Park among others.

“We’ll also paint all the fire hydrants in Stayton, something that the city has said it lacks the resources to do on its own,” Schabel said. “Churches in Jefferson will converge on the middle school there, painting the outside of the school.”

Angie Lehnert, who handles volunteers for the city of Stayton, expected a lot of repairs to be made to the crumbling areas of the Westown Wall.

“And they will start to make a trail to the forthcoming pedestrian bridge at Riverfront Park,” she added.

“These are big projects. Every year the city depends and looks forward to iServe volunteers to meet these big needs.”

Schabel and his fellow volunteers are humble about serving their communities.

“It’s the most important thing we do as a church body,” he said. “iServe is about loving our community and expecting nothing in return. We hope that when people see us working, they see Jesus at work.”

Schabel said he and his fellow workers believe that helping others is what they are called to do.

“We are deeply invested in the lives of people here in the Santiam Canyon, and iServe is an extension of that investment,” he said. “Simple things such as a fresh coat of paint in a classroom or new bark dust on a playground help people see that someone cares for them. That person is Jesus, reaching out through his followers.”

This year’s iServe outreach is partnering with Willamette Celebration, a live concert with music from rock to country to gospel presented July 23-24 at Timber Linn Park in Albany. Also taking place at the event are action sports, including motocross, BMX, skateboarding and rollerblading; and a Family Fun Zone, with special children’s events and activities, including face painting and inflatable play areas. All activities and presentations are free. For more information, visit www.willamettecelebration.com.

For more information on iServe, email Schabel at tim@foothillsstayton.org.

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