WJTV News Channel 12 - FAITH IN FOCUS: In Florence, "The Church Has Left the Building!"

Marvin United Methodist Church in Florence turned one of their recent Sunday Services into community service.

FAITH IN FOCUS: In Florence, "The Church Has Left the Building!"

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Florence, MS -

Marvin United Methodist Church in Florence turned one of their recent Sunday Services into community service.

"We're doing kind of a different event. We're doing what's called 'The Church has Left the Building' because the church isn't a building. The church is the people," Pastor Robbie Murden said.

Yes, the saying is a take-off of "Elvis has Left the Building" - and it's just as literal.

The entire congregation headed out of the doors of the church during time usually spent in the pews.

"So we're hoping that this is going to be a teaching opportunity for people. To know - to go out into the world and to meet God out in the world and to reflect his love, his grace, and his mercy to everyone they meet," Pastor Murden said.

Susan Smith said she has been a member at Marvin United Methodist Church for more than 20 years. As far back as she can remember, this is the first time the community has ever completely replaced a single Sunday service with volunteering.

"We do not need to be just sitting in churches all the time and doing nothing. We need to put our aprons on and get out and serve and we do not need to sit with our bibs on and be fed all the time," Smith said.

About a dozen different group spreads across the community and the surrounding areas. Just about a thousand yards from Smith's group a group of men helped build a fence around a dumpster.

In total, about 150 church members are a part of this effort. And as Pastor Murden said, people already have 51 weeks each year to work out (what he calls) their "vertical peace" with God.

"And so this is one week that we have the opportunity to go out and work on this horizontal section. This section where we're reaching out to other people. And that, of course, is the cross. And we want to show the world Jesus Christ and his love and grace and mercy," Pastor Murden said.

"So we can just show people that we are who we are and that we're not just going to sit in church and be the inside Christians - we're the outside Christians too," Smith said.

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