If you were in Sudbury, Ontario on Saturday, June 8th you would have seen groups of people throughout the city planting community gardens, cleaning up highways or restoring parks and they were all wearing white t-shirts with the words, “Elevate – Love in Motion” written in black letters across the front. For the who, what and why of Elevate I called the guy who dreamed it all up Jason Tripp, pastor of Valleyview Community Church in Blezard Valley, ON .
As Jason told me, “Elevate is the mobilization of churches throughout greater Sudbury working in cooperation and partnership with community leaders and community action networks throughout the city. Our desire is to come together over one weekend to identify some projects and to pool our resources together to simply love, serve and fulfill a need to make our community and neighbourhoods better, safer, cleaner places to live.”
Elevate was a weekend event with churches opening their doors on Friday to pray and prepare for the twelve community service projects that would take place the following day. Saturday volunteers were sent out to serve and love in their neighbourhoods. Sunday evening everyone gathered together for a unity worship service to celebrate all that was accomplished and share testimonies.
Forty churches participated in Elevate. Some of the churches came up with their own community projects and others worked with their wards and councillors to determine where to focus their efforts.
As Amy Phillips from All Nations Church shared, “We are the hands and feet of Jesus. We need get out there we need to get beyond our church walls and we need to connect with people and build relationships with people besides those that we worship with every day. And be the church everywhere we go.”
There was surprisingly very little red tape; in fact, the Mayor of Sudbury signed an official proclamation declaring the Elevate weekend an official weekend of Christian love and service.
For the past nine years Jason has participated in Celebration in the Park an event which involved several churches coming together in a park for a unity worship service. Also in the last few years Jason, his family and church have felt the need to be more intentional in meeting the needs of their community. In dialoging with church and community leaders Jason sensed the time was right for Elevate a kind of natural evolution from Celebration in the Park.
I asked Jason what stood out for him during the weekend, “One word floating around both in my mind and heart was “spark.” This whole weekend is serving as a spark for further church unity and missional activities in our community.”
There will be an Elevate 2015 with plans to have it become more than just a one weekend event each year.
Click here for Elevate Promo Video.
Click here for Elevate article in the Sudbury Star.