- (Photo: Gary Rigby & Emily Cummins)
While many churches will be observing Super Bowl Sunday with watch parties, one Florida congregation will doing something considerably different.
Church of Hope, a recently established nondenominational church in Ocala, will be canceling service and doing charitable work on Feb. 5 in an event titled "3G Sunday," the G's standing for "Gather, Go, Give."
"When we trust God no matter what's happening around us, we can love anyone inside the church and in our community," said Emily Cummins, communications assistant for Church of Hope and daughter of Hope's Pastor Mark Cummins, in an interview with The Christian Post.
"In leaving the 'steeple' on Sunday, February 5, 2012, we are choosing to be with the people of our community."
This year's "3G Sunday" is the third annual observance. Other organizations have been involved in the charity work done as part of the event.
"This year we will paint, clean, clear brush, pray, cook, give blood, build a house and visit nursing home residents and veterans for 21 organizations and municipalities throughout Marion County," said Cummins.
"We are extremely excited to be ending the day with a Wall Raising ceremony for our 4th home with Habitat for Humanity. Sunday's Wall Raising will be the largest wall raising Habitat for Humanity of Marion County has ever hosted."
When asked if doing charity work instead of holding worship services on Sunday was not honoring the Sabbath, Cummins responded that this charity work is part of being the church.
"In North America, it has become the pattern where we go to church, rather than live out being the church where we work, live, and go to school," said Cummins.
"[Pastor] Cummins often compares the weekend gathering to a huddle on a football team where we come together to worship and to hear from God's Word, but then we break from the huddle, leave the weekend gathering and go to the line of scrimmage where we live, work, play, and go to school."
Fr. Jonathan French of Grace Episcopal Church in Ocala told CP that he thought "it's great that Church of Hope is reaching out to the community."
"So, my reaction to Hope's call to service on Superbowl Sunday is, Good job! Go and serve the world in the name of Jesus as the Great Commission has instructed all Christians to do," said French.
French also believed that doing such work on the Sabbath was acceptable.
"The Sabbath wasn't invented because God needed us slavishly do nothing but think thoughts about Him all day," said French.
"It is a mistake to think of the Sabbath as something holy in itself. It is only holy because of what God wants to do that day. I think Church of Hope sees this and I commended them for their right thinking."
According to Emily Cummins, about 700 people have registered for "3G Sunday" this year. Other organizations involved this year include the Boys & Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity, and Marion County Vets for Vets.