Bradford Church Closes Doors to do Outreach

Bradford, PA: Usually at 11:00 AM on Sunday mornings, Open Arms Community Church in Bradford is just starting their weekly worship service – but throughout the month of August – they’ll be headed out the door.

They’ve decided to cancel their second church service each Sunday morning to host Free Block Parties at different locations in town, starting this Sunday with a picnic at the parking lot of Phillip’s Auto Depot on North Kendall Avenue from 12:00 Noon until 3:00PM.

“The idea is something we’ve bounced around for quite some time,” says Open Arms Pastor Mike McAvoy, “My wife has always wanted to cancel service to go serve the community and some others in the church had a similar idea, and my thought is: one service isn’t radical, but canceling service 4 weeks in a row is radical.” The church will instead hold one service at 9:15, and then start loading up supplies and preparing for the outreaches.

Each of the four weeks in August, Open Arms will partner with individuals and organizations to hold free chicken barbecues, hand out balloons and sno-cones, and just provide a fun way for people to connect with their community.

McAvoy says, “We wanted to provide an opportunity for the people of our church to meet new people that they may not normally be engaging. Now when they walk or drive through the community they will see a familiar face, know a new name, be able to say hello, and even say a prayer for that person.”

McAvoy feels that these outreaches are proving two of Open Arms’ core values:
That People Matter To God – “We believe all people matter to God, not just our friends, family, church, or peer social strata” andIntentional Radical Acts of Kindness are the best way to communicate God’s love for people- “So, we are canceling our late church service and as a church hitting the streets, serving and blessing others.”

Following this week’s outreach on North Kendall Avenue, the church will partner August 14th with Family Video  in their parking lot on West Washington Street, serving free chicken, while the video store will be giving away coupons for free movie rentals.

August 21, the church plans to host a picnic near the Ambulance Station on Chesnut Street, in partnership with Brian Gustafson. On August 28, Open Arms will partner with the Church of the Ascension on Chautauqua Place for another chicken barbecue.

McAvoy says, “Each of these organizations were so quick to say yes and excited about the idea of serving and blessing others. We extend a big thank you to each of them for the opportunity to serve our community together.”

Open Arms is also partnering with the “To Fill A Backpack” program – and at each event, children who may need backpacks filled with school supplies can sign up to receive one for free before the start of the school year.


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