For the past year, on 5th Sundays something different happens at Point Comfort and Lolita United Methodist Churches. Rev. Danielle Knapp doesn’t preach a sermon–instead the congregation does the sermon as part of their Mission and a Meal Sundays. These two churches made 25 fleece-tied blankets for children in crisis in Jan. 2017, which were delivered to local first responders.
In April 2017, they made 135 health kits and over 100 flood buckets (before Hurricane Harvey hit Texas shores). Congregants stuffed 50 backpacks with all the needed school supplies for local students in July. Church members filled shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child to send overseas–boxes went to Honduras, Mexico, and Zambia in July 2017. These are huge accomplishments when average attendance is less than 40 at each church. When God is involved size truly does not matter!
“I was looking for a way to connect what I was preaching, what my congregation was hearing week after week, to the needs in the world around us,” Rev. Knapp said. “Mission and a Meal Sundays were the easiest way to get the whole congregation involved in the work of God’s kingdom.”
On a typical Mission and a Meal Sunday the congregation gathers in the sanctuary for music and prayer and a Scripture lesson. Instead of listening to a sermon, the whole congregation moves to the fellowship hall. All the supplies have been set out ahead of time. There are a few minutes of instruction and then the congregation worships God by assembling that Sunday’s project.
The activities are designed to include children as young as 2-years old and adults into their 90’s, all working alongside each other. Once the last knot is tied, the last lid sealed on the bucket, the last zipper closed on a backpack, or the last barcode taped to a shoebox, the members join to do what Methodists do best – a potluck meal to celebrate the work.
“It was important to me to help my congregations put their faith into action, by not just hearing, but doing something which seems small to us, but can change the life of someone we will never meet,” Rev. Knapp said.
Mission and a Meal Sundays have become popular with the whole congregation and plans are being made for this year 5th Sundays in April, July, September, and December 2018.