Kedrick Nettleton, Staff Writer

The church has left the building.  

This was the rallying cry of “Serve Sunday,” a recent event hosted by the Wesleyan institutions in and around the Bartlesville area. Members from all over the OKWU community took part in the event, gathering for worship and volunteering in groups at 18 different service sites. Melissa Little, from OKWU’s School of Nursing, coordinated the event along with a dedicated team, and a number of OKWU personnel led at various sites.  

“It felt like church—the way it’s supposed to be. It was my honor to serve those who would then go out to serve the community.”  

This marks the first time that Serve Sunday, which has been put on by Bartlesville First Wesleyan Church for years, included the greater Wesleyan family—Sooner Park Wesleyan, Fellowship Wesleyan, New Life Wesleyan, OKWU, and the First Wesleyan ministries. In all, over 260 people took part in the event to serve Bartlesville as one church body.  

For Little, Serve Sunday was an opportunity to promote unity within the local body of Christ, and especially within the Wesleyan church family. “I’m hoping it creates an even bigger sense of community within our churches,” she said. “We hope for this to grow bigger and bigger each year, and that the ministries and agencies that we serve begin to look forward to Serve Sunday, because they know we’re coming to assist in any way we can.”  

The day began with group worship, led by OKWU seniors Brianna Hudson and Ben Bender. Hudson said the experience served as a reminder of what it should feel like to be a part of a church family.  

“It was a beautiful experience,” she said. “It was really encouraging for me to see so many people gathered together, all wearing blue, all singing along with us. It felt like church—the way it’s supposed to be. It was my honor to serve those who would then go out to serve the community.”  

After the service, volunteers were sent all across town to help at various sites like the Lighthouse Mission, Agape Mission, Hopestone, K-Life, The Cottage, and more. Sunshine Hattingh, OKWU’s Director of Student Success, led the team at Ray of Hope, a non-profit organization that helps children and adults find resources to overcome abuse and violence.   

“Our small group were all OKWU alumni. We were able to refinish furniture and stain some furniture for [them],” she said. “My four-year-old daughter came and helped. It was so meaningful to explain to her why it’s so important to serve as the body of Christ. I’m privileged to work at a university that sees the importance of this.”  

Keep your eyes peeled next year for information about getting involved with Serve Sunday.  

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