Nonprofit Faith in Action lives up to its name
Volunteers from Pasadena Faith in Action cut down the woman’s tree with supplies that had been donated for the cause. The woman was saved from city fines, and she could now enjoy a safe, trim lawn.
Burke Road Church Pastor Ken Boggs created Pasadena Faith in Action, a nonprofit organization, in 2009 with two other pastors. “That’s where it started,” Boggs explained about founding Pasadena Faith in Action. “Three guys around the lunch table.”
Boggs has found value in uniting local churches for events and community service. Included in these events is a Sunrise Service at Burke Crenshaw Pavilion Park, where many congregations now gather to celebrate Easter.
“We all agreed on the basics of our faith and that we should start helping the poor,” Boggs said. Volunteers from 13 churches meet once a year in the spring to perform house and yard work for those in need.
“We can show a sense of unity,” he said.
The volunteers are assigned groups and project sites based on their individual skill level and what is needed. Groups of various ages paint houses, remove trash and build wheelchair ramps.
“City councilmen have been collaborating with us,” Boggs said.
The pastor has participated in the Pasadena City Council, including giving an invocation in August. There have also been special cases in which Faith in Action has been able to solve problems between the city and its citizens.
Community activists also play a large part in the organization, according to Boggs. These activists can help find those people and properties in need of assistance from Pasadena Faith in Action. The organization has found that the northern area of Pasadena, with its large elderly population, to be in particular need of attention, Boggs said.
Although only one workday is hosted a year, Boggs has further plans to expand. A major goal is for Pasadena Faith in Action to soon have the ability to host an additional workday in the fall.
“It’s still in beginning stages,” said Boggs of Pasadena Faith in Action’s progress.
The organization’s workday event doubled last year to 400 volunteers from 200. He has high hopes that it will someday involve around 5,000 volunteers.
This is only possible “if pastors care about this,” Boggs said.
While many congregations follow the lead of their pastors in community activities, some might not easily adjust to a program led by clergy of different faiths. Thus, non-pastors sometimes are used as liaisons to this program. Shane McCoy, a member of First Christian Church Pasadena, is the congregation’s representative for Pasadena Faith in Action.
“I’ve come to admire (Boggs’) abilities to organize others, turn his vision into action and demonstrate the depth of his personal character,” McCoy said.
Although the majority of volunteers belong to congregations, all are welcome to help the cause. Boggs said the corporation provides an avenue to give aid to those who don’t have a church to help them.
What advice does Boggs have for other communities wishing to construct a similar program?
“It all starts with relationships with pastors,” he said.
Volunteers can get more information and register at www.pasadenafaithinaction.org. Businesses are also needed to provide services and supplies for projects.
About Ken Boggs
Occupation: Pastor of Burke Road Church
Community Connection: Founded Pasadena Faith in Action
Fast Fact: Boggs has been married to wife Shelly since 1989, and they have four children
Jade McCoy is a journalism student at the University of Houston Clear Lake.
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