Christ Church spends Sunday doing for others

Margaret Hurt
Special to The Black Mountain News

Sunday morning May 22 will look quite different from other Sundays at one church in the Valley.

Members of Christ Community Church-Montreat will head out of the chapel and church after the 8:30 a.m. worship service to serve at various area sites. Interested community members are invited to participate. The church calls the program “The Church Has Left the Building.”

At 14 locations, teams will seek to show their faith by meeting needs in their midst. The project is church-wide and lasts two and a half hours. Available options are meant to appeal to the youngest and oldest participants.

For Ben Aceto, a landscaper by trade, heading up a team to beautify the campus of the NC State Veterans Home is a perfect way to appreciate the service of the residents there.

“I did not have the honor to serve in a military branch, so this is a way I can give back to them and to my community,” Aceto said. He has led a volunteer team there for several years, and in the process they have made some improvements that provide the veterans an attractive outdoor setting to enjoy.

The church’s service projects have included grounds work at Owen public schools, visits to nursing homes, letter writing to missionaries and building and home repair partnering with Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry. Projects have also included visits with veterans at the VA Medical Center in Asheville and the Marjorie McCune Memorial Center in Black Mountain.

“The Church Has Left The Building” concept was championed by Chris Maslin, a church elder who learned of the concept from another church.

“Our congregation has a heart for the Valley, and this was a way to take our most important and sacred day of the week and put our faith into action (by) serving our community while sharing the love of Christ,” Maslin said via email. Now it its third year, the event has become a unique tradition for those involved, though many in the church are already involved in community service.

Black Mountain Primary principal Malorie McGinnis said she was amazed at what the church did at the school last spring. “There are so many tasks to complete in the summer in order to be prepared for the next school year. Having the support from volunteers to help with the beautification of the campus is truly appreciated,” she said.

The church collected money at its services to fund the costs of various projects.

“We anticipate this to be a true blessing of ministry where those serving receive as much, if not more, out of it than those being served,” Maslin said. “This project has united our church in purpose and provided clarity of our vision in the past, and we look forward to this again. Past recipients were overwhelmed by the work accomplished, and the relationships that were deepened.”

For more or to become involved in the project, contact Chris Curry, director of local mission and discipleship, at 669-7577 or