Local ministry seeks to spread message of love to community

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Rome First United Methodist Church will present Worship Without Walls for an hour every Tuesday outside of the Neighborhood Center, 199 W. Dominick St.

Volunteers will hand out sandwiches and water and tell people that God loves them. The ministry began last week and will continue each Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. outside the center.

“We often think that worship is something you do inside of a building once a week,” said Brian Lothridge, pastor of the church at 400 N. George St. “However, worship can be done anywhere. Christians aren’t called to stay within the walls of the church, but are called out into the world to share God’s love. That’s what we hope to accomplish with this ministry.”

The ministry is a branch of the Worship Without Walls ministry held weekly at the Veterans Outreach Center in Utica. That ministry began nearly two years ago and is run by pastors Carol Jubenville and Cory Jones. The simple message of love impressed Lothridge after he visited the ministry last summer.

“We hear a lot of negative voices these days,” Lothridge said. “We want to be a voice of positivity. Many people don’t have a connection to church or have been hurt by the church. They may never come into the walls of the church I serve to hear that God loves them. That is why we are going out to the people. My United Methodist forefather John Wesley said that the world is his parish. We want to model that.”

Worship Without Walls is open to everyone. Cutlines

Worship Without Walls 1: Parishioners from Rome 1st UMC have started a new ministry called Worship Without Walls, modeled after the ministry of the same name in Utica. They are handing out bagged lunches and more each Tuesday outside of the Neighborhood Center, 199 W. Dominick St. Pictured (from left) are Gwyn Caldwell, Brian Lothridge, Bob Henderson, Nancy Henderson, Penny Gray, and Fred Yerman.

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