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The church has left the building

A story from the 2014 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study (p. 98)

April 15, 2014

Disciples from Woodside Church clean up during “The Church Has Left the Building.”

Disciples from Woodside Church clean up during “The Church Has Left the Building.” —Doug Hogland

YARDLEY, Penn.

Don’t go to church. Be the church!” On the first Sunday morning in November, a growing number of congregations in the Delaware Valley cancel their morning worship services. 

Instead, after a brief prayer, God’s people launch out to be Jesus’ hands and feet in countless community projects. What started in 2010 with Woodside Presbyterian Church in Yardley has grown into a movement of Presbyterian, Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, United Church of Christ, and other congregations from two states.

The movement, which includes congregations from the presbyteries of Philadelphia and New Brunswick, engages all ages in projects that bless local communities. In a single day, they stock pantries, deliver books to inner-city-school libraries, clean up trash, lead worship for people in recovery, make meals for the homebound, build shelters for the homeless, sew dresses for Haiti and, in 2012, cut up trees toppled by Hurricane Sandy. 

“The church is a sleeping giant,” one pastor commented. “On this day you literally see it wake up and get to work!” In the evening Christians from different denominations gather together for worship in various places.

It truly is a taste of heaven. 

The day is really the culmination of 50 days of prayer, Bible reading, sermons, and small-group Bible studies. As they read about Jesus loving the lost and healing the hurting, momentum builds toward the day when they go out and follow in his steps. For more information, visit the Woodside website

The Presbytery of Philadelphia is home to 32,063 members of 126 congregations. New Brunswick Presbytery contains 9,407 members in 40 congregations. 

For more stories like this, order your 2014 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study today. Order through the Church Store or call 800-524-2612.

  1. As a member of a PCUSA church, I am gratified to see this focus and ministry. You speak my heart on this matter. I just published my thoughts on the church getting out of buildings. Kindest wishes, Samuel Mahaffy http://samuelmahaffy.com/2014/04/worship-without-walls-discovering-unbounded-sacred-places/

    by Samuel Mahaffy

    April 18, 2014

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