Salinas, California, on the decline for a couple of decades, has experienced turnaround, and some of the credit goes to Salinas Valley Community Church.
In its fourth year, a campaign to put church members to work on community rejuvenation produced 800 volunteers for its most recent project in April and loads of good will for the church-community partnership. "We've become known as a worker-bee church in our community," says outreach pastor Diane Pate.
On Easter Sunday the church kicked off "Imagine a Great City" with a goal of 100 percent church-member participation in service projects. Six weeks later, the congregation dismissed Sunday services to tackle weeding and mulching in parks, home renovation for needy and elderly residents, and more.
This is one of a string of projects dating back four years. "In January the city wanted to plant 100 trees, so, of course, we showed up to help," Pate says. "The mayor is used to seeing our faces."
Today the work is called "Loving Salinas." And ...1