It’s all about ‘LOVE’

Matthews, Mint Hill churches join for week of service projects

by Josh Whitener

Churches throughout the area are teaming up with Matthews-based Elevation Church to reach out to the community through the third annual LOVE Week.

Founded in 2010, LOVE Week is a collaborative effort to unite the region through extensive volunteer work. This year’s initiative reaches out to a variety of nonprofits, including the Matthews Free Medical Clinic, Habitat for Humanity of Matthews and Thompson Child and Family Focus. Other service options include Charlotte Rescue Mission, the Urban Ministry Center, Hope Haven and Crisis Assistance Ministry, as well as city organizations, such as Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and various fire departments in the area.

Volunteers provide a variety of services, such as feeding the hungry, building Habitat houses or serving lunch to volunteers and beautifying local parks and schools. The effort also seeks to raise awareness about community issues, such as addiction, homelessness, hunger and poverty. More than 350 events have been planned for LOVE Week 2012, which runs through Feb. 19. Registration is available online at www.loveweekcharlotte.com.

The first year of LOVE Week generated 10,000 hours of volunteer service. Last year, more than 25 churches collaborated to volunteer 34,257 service hours. For LOVE Week 2012, Elevation hopes to see 50 churches join the effort and volunteer 50,000 hours of service.

For the second year in a row, Team Church of Matthews is part of the effort and encouraging all of its members to get involved. The church is promoting the event among its “home teams,” small groups of church members who meet regularly for Bible study. The teams can collaborate and choose to register and participate in any event they choose.

“We are in full support (of LOVE Week 2012),” Kristine Wood, Team Church’s home team pastor, said. “We love the idea. We’re a community-focused church, and this ties with our core values.”

Mint Hill’s Philadelphia Presbyterian Church is also encouraging members to get involved in LOVE Week for the second year in a row. Pastor Charles Williamson has challenged his congregation to donate one hour of service during the week.

Members also can opt to volunteer with one of the ministries the church currently serves, such as Room in the Inn or Bright Blessings in Matthews, which reach out to the homeless. The church will report the final count of service hours to LOVE Week.

“The thing to do is encourage folks to dedicate their time and service,” Williamson said. “It’s not about Elevation, and it’s not about Philadelphia Presbyterian. It’s about Christian individuals and community believers pulling together to be disciples.”

Want to volunteer?

To sign-up to volunteer during LOVE Week 2012, visit www.loveweekcharlotte.com. Projects run through Feb. 19. Volunteers don’t have to be affiliated with a participating church to participate.

Church groups can also visit the LOVE Week website to download graphics, including T-Shirt mockups, magnet templates, yard signs, release forms and promotional video clips.

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