Takoma Park Church Moves ‘Beyond the Walls’
Story by Debra Anderson
In following the theme of Potomac Conference's mission to expand ministry beyond the walls of the physical church, on Sabbath, September 11, 2021—the 20th anniversary of 9/11—volunteers from the Takoma Park (Md.) church led an effort to extend help to a neighbor in need.
Church members and friends spent the day repairing and restoring the home of Robin Morton, a 75-year-old grandmother who lives alone and whose house had deteriorated. Morton applied for the repairs with Rebuilding Together Montgomery County—an organization that partners with local governments, community volunteers, nonprofit service providers and corporate partners to provide free critical home repairs to the county’s most vulnerable residents.
The 50 volunteers completed several tasks in one day, including replacing Morton’s rotting front entry ramp. Volunteers also made significant repairs to her broken gate and fence and cleared out 30 years’ worth of clutter in her attic and garage. The workers made a host of other repairs.
“Those 12 hours were nothing less than sacred,” says Daniel Xisto, Takoma Park pastor for community engagement. “We were on ‘holy ground.’ Everyone felt it. The energy was palpable.”
Morton was brought to tears when addressing the volunteers during their lunch break, “I never dreamed that something like this would happen to me. I cannot thank you all enough,” she said.
Morton’s neighbors also felt the love, as they came out to see what the people in the red Takoma Park shirts were doing. After hearing the story, one neighbor asked to take a photo of the church group. The neighbor said she had never witnessed such a wonderful thing happen to someone she knew.
At the end of the day, when the final piece of decking was installed and the last tool was put away, a few of the volunteers spontaneously formed a circle around Morton. Grateful for the opportunity to serve, they thanked her for allowing them into her space. They prayed, thanking Jesus for all He had accomplished that day.
“There is something extraordinary about serving the community on Sabbath,” explains Pastor Xisto, “and those of us who served on this project can testify to the presence of the Holy Spirit. Maybe Morton, not a member of any church, felt God’s presence, perhaps unlike never before.”
To view before and after photos, visit the Takoma Park Seventh-day Adventist Church Facebook page.