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Longtime member and communications pastor Charley Swanson articulates the connection he sees between faith and community service:
Charley Swanson, interviewed by Lillie Schneyer, May 19, 2016. ↩
“I think one of the strongest calls that Jesus made to his followers was to take care of those who are less fortunate. You know, if you’ve got two coats and somebody else doesn’t have one, give them your coat! So, I think it’s impossible at least for us to read the Bible and not see a really strong mandate to try to reach the needs of the people around you. And, by doing that I think we’re able to show God’s love for the world in a really tangible way, and we like to think that that’s actually going to move people’s hearts far more than preaching at people or trying to evangelize to people. There’s a quote by somebody that I don’t even remember now but say something like preach love or preach Jesus’s love or preach the love of Christ or something like that and if you have to, use the words to do it. So the idea there is that you want to show people what you’re about or what God’s about and not just tell them. So, those are the kinds of things that I think have always been foundational to the church but also motivating to me for sure and our family and the people who are invested around here.”
"Preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words." -Attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi.
“I think largely because of our connection to Woodland Hills and because of the values we’ve got on board with here, my wife and daughter and I live on the east side, which can be a rough neighborhood. It’s a little bit of a tougher neighborhood, but we’re there because of our faith and because of the values that we have and because we want to live out God’s love in a neighborhood that could really use some help. I think every neighborhood could, but we certainly feel called to that urban setting, and we’re able to meet neighbors that we can make a really tangible and lasting impact on. We believe and we hope a lasting and tangible impact in their lives. Because there’s a scarcity of resources in our neighborhood: time, energy, money, experience, resources, connections, networks. We’re able to bring those to our neighborhood in ways that, I mean some of our neighbors just haven’t had the life experience to have some of those. And that kind of thing, if I didn’t have a faith, if Jen didn’t have a faith, if we weren’t people who have the values that we do, I’m sure we wouldn’t live where we do. So that’s I guess a tangible example of how our faith impacts our life and the relationships with the people around us.”