Sunday service holds new meaning for members of Austin church



Posted on June 30, 2013 at 6:12 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 1 at 8:00 AM

AUSTIN -- Sunday service is taking on a whole new meaning for members of one Austin church.

Every few weeks, members of One Chapel spend Sunday morning helping the community instead of congregating under a roof.

It's a project church founder and lead pastor, Ross Parsley calls "Love Austin."

"Our goal was to take the church outside of the building and make our community better," said Parsley.

Members of his congregation choose to do something simple like help their neighbor, or join one of 23 organized work sites.

Several dozen volunteers at Sunset Valley Elementary School are focusing on landscaping, and refinished chairs. About 500 members of the congregation were out in the community Sunday doing everything from yard work to painting, to picking up trash.

Nick Danforth volunteered with a group along Highway 360, gathering garbage from area trails. Since he joined in 2010, he's watched the church and the program grow.

He said, "It feels really right. It feels like this is what we're supposed to be doing. It's great to gather, and it's great to go to church on Sunday morning, but there's something about being out here with the same people, friends, family, serving our city."

It's a fact that pleases One Chapel's partners, like Sunset Valley Elementary School Principal Kim Placker.

"They give with their heart and that has helped us the last few years," Placker said. "They are volunteers that want to come and help our school, so that feels good."

Lead Pastor Parsley added, "We're using our gifts and talents to take care of others, and that has a great impact on us."

Parsley modeled the Love Austin project on several other successful programs Austin churches conduct.