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Black Mountain Primary principal Malorie McGinnis was thrilled last May when she arrived early one Monday and saw how the school grounds had been spruced up.

“When I drove up to the school, I was amazed by what had been accomplished,” she said. Her school, like many other community organizations in the Swannanoa Valley, received much help from a community-wide Sunday morning service project called “The Church Has Left The Building.” This was the second year the project has been held in the area.

“We can’t thank the volunteers enough for the efforts to coordinate such a great project to help our school,” McGinnis said.

The morning of May 31 will look quite different from other Sundays at a few churches in the community. Following an early 8:30 a.m. worship service, members of Christ Community Church-Montreat, iSight Church Black Mountain and Riceville Valley Community Church in Swannanoa, along with other community members, will serve on service teams throughout the Valley.

The project offers a way for the youngest to the oldest person to be part, regardless of church affiliation. Community participation is welcomed in hopes to make even greater impact. Service projects happen from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and are scheduled to be followed by a picnic lunch outdoors for volunteers at the Black Mountain Primary School campus.

Termed “The Church Has Left The Building,” the project concept was championed by Christ Community Church-Montreat elder Chris Maslin, who learned of the concept from an out-of-state church. The scope of outreach is broad - options this year range from grounds work at Owen public schools, visits to nursing homes, beautification at the N.C. Veteran’s Home and Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministries. They also include cleaning up around Montreat College, visits and singing to shut-ins and hospital residents, and letter-writing to missionaries and beyond. A few community members will receive home repair assistance.

Other the locations to be served May 31 are the McCune Center, Black Mountain Home for Children community gardens, Christian Friends of Korea, Women’s Prison, Black Mountain Primary and Elementary schools, Owen Middle School, Owen High School, Nana’s Nursing Home and the VA Hospital.

A year ago, the first annual event occurred, gathering close to 400 participants. “This is a unique to put our faith into action,” Maslin said. Many church and community members are involved with community service throughout the year, yet this is a unique approach with its church- and community-wide nature.

To fund the project expenses, monetary collections were received during the spring. Funds are to be used for such items as mulch, flowers, lunch and more. Some children will work alongside parents or other adults. Childcare is provided only for families participating in the event.For more about childcare, contact Sara Lynn Miller at saralynn.miller@cccmontreat.org.

Advance sign-up, required, will occur primarily in Black Mountain Primary School’s cafeteria. If you wish to be involved in any level with the project, you may also contact Maslin at maslinc@gmail.com.

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