Tuesday Oct 11 2011
Local church benefits from Miracle Day
By: Anne Stokes Gold Country News Service
Last weekend, congregation members of the Disciples of Christ descended upon the Sierra Christian Church, in Loomis, to make light work with many hands. A hoard of volunteers, 110 total, came from all over Northern California and from as far away as Nevada to pitch in to help make Miracle Day a success. Items on the church's to-do list included building an intricate labyrinth, creating a meditation garden, and enlarging their existing community garden with raised planters, a composting area, and tool shed. And all of the work was done in one day. Regional minister Ben Bohren, with the Northern California and Nevada Disciples of Christ, created the Miracle Day program back in 1997 and it has since caught on across the nation. "We do this with different local congregations every other year. Our region, which is 70 congregations, raises the money to help support this and the volunteers,"he said. "People start out believing 'we can never do this, we'll never get this done'. But with a lot of cooperation and hard work and faith and prayer and the miracles of God coming together, it all happens." Pat Hughes, a Sierra Christian Church member, said, "What really warms my heart is to know that we have so many people in this region who are willing to come and work, and work hard, to help make something like this come about. It's just been beautiful." She added, "We want it to be for the community, it's not just for church members." She said anyone is welcome to “walk the labyrinth, do a little meditation, we would love for people in the community to know that." Jim Watkins, of the Sierra Christian Church, said, "We worked probably for a couple of weeks getting everything ready, getting the ground level, getting the labyrinth, and the meditation garden, and the community garden materials laid out so that when the volunteers got here, everything would be ready for them to go to work.” But the work to coordinate such a large effort and group of volunteers started much earlier, according to Sierra Christian Church's pastor, Reverend Bill Garrett. "This is part of the Holy Ground project that we've been working on for a of couple years. We want to be able to open up our facility to the community. People come and they just love being here out in the open, watching the animals, planting plants, and so it's been a very therapeutic, very spiritual, experience for a lot of people.” Carl Cordes, of the Vallejo First Christian Church, came for the weekend to help. "It's what God has told us to do and what I believe in doing," he said. "We try to help each other as best we can and this is one way that we do it. And there's no other word for it, it's a miracle." But according to Bohren, just as important as the labor, was the idea that working together could "give a local congregation the empowerment and faith in themselves that they can do a ministry for their community and for their own people that will make a difference, and they couldn't do it on their own," said Bohren. "And that's the idea – that doing it together strengthens everybody."