BRATTLEBORO -- As part of a national celebration for the 25th anniversary of the Evangelical Church in America, congregants of the Trinity Lutheran Church gathered around town, participating in various community service jobs.
After Sunday mass on Sept. 8, Reverend and Pastor Peggy Yingst split up different groups of church members. One group stayed and worked on trails that were connected to the property of the church. The other group went Morningside Shelter to assist with a couple projects.
"All Lutheran churches in the U.S. are doing this today," said Frankie Gibson, a congregant of the Trinity Lutheran Church.
The name of the national celebration of the anniversary is called "God's Work, Our Hands." Congregants around the country are wearing yellow t-shirts with the slogan.
Yingst told the Reformer that four million people out of 10,000 congregations nationwide were participating in the event. She estimated 20 volunteers from her own congregation had assisted with service.
Gibson and Susan Carlton, both members who reside in Brattleboro, were folding clothing at the Morningside Shelter. They were organizing clothes that go not only to shelter residents, but to the Brattleboro Drop-In Center. Both women said they enjoy performing community service through the church.
Other volunteers had just finished up re-painting a bathroom at the shelter, while another stained picnic tables in the backyard.
"It's a very pretty yellow," one volunteer said of the bathroom.
A congregant regularly volunteers at the shelter and other members of the church wanted to help out. The shelter was originally converted from a farmhouse. It hosts 28 beds for those who are homeless or in transition, and there's an apartment in the back that can be rented out to a shelter resident once their feet are back on the ground.
The trails behind Trinity Lutheran Church connect with public land trust property. Yingst thought it may lead to the Harris Hill Ski Jump in the winter.
She said volunteers had made the trails more identifiable. They also posted inspirational readings from biblical verses on trees using small slips of paper.
"The trails were something we've wanted to do for awhile," said Yingst. "I've been here for four years. We thought this was a good time to do it and the kids liked the idea."
As she walked through the trail to observe the work that volunteers had done, Yingst said she thought the trail was now easier to find.
"This looks really good!" she exclaimed.
Yingst said that next month, congregants from her church will be going out into the community to ask people what the community needs and what they can do as a church.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.