Posted Online: May 02, 2014, 5:00 am

Helping schools is in church's 'jean genes'

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By Leon Lagerstam, llagerstam@qconline.com

Photo: Submitted
Del Saranglao, of Bethany Baptist Church in Moline, mulched a school playground area during the Blue Jean Sunday event on Sunday, April 27. Church members cleaned up around Garfield, Ericsson and Butterworth elementary schools in Moline, and delivered cookies to local police and firefighters.
Photo: Submitted
Becky Kammler, left, Julia Westblade, Ben Kammler, Aaron Wheatley and Grace Haben participated in the Blue Jean Sunday project sponsored by Moline's Bethany Baptist Church. Parishioners cleaned up around Garfield, Ericsson and Butterworth schools and delivered cookies to local police and firefighters.
Photo: Submitted
Rachel Helm, Abby Devinney and Deb Thelen spread new mulch around a school playground as part of the Blue Jean Sunday project sponsored by Moline's Bethany Baptist Church. Parishioners cleaned up around Garfield, Ericcson and Butterworth elementary schools, and delivered cookies to local police and firefighters.
MOLINE -- Bethany Baptist Church members replaced regular worship services last Sunday to hold what they call a "Blue Jean Sunday."

About 90 people broke into teams and went to Garfield, Ericsson and Butterworth elementary schools to do mulching, raking, trash pick up and weed-whacking, associate pastor Steve Ott said.

"It was a great turnout. We had about 25 people at each site," he said, adding that other members delivered cookies to firefighters and police officers.

"The rain held off and we were able to get everything done," Mr. Ott said. "We've done these Blue Jean Sundays for about five years, and we've developed a relationship with school administrators and principals at those three schools."

The schools are in close proximity of the church, at 700 35th Ave. Place.

"They are part of our community," he said. "We love being a part of Moline. For us, this is just about giving back to the community, no strings attached. We know how schools have been hurting financially and how some are closing soon, but it doesn't deter us from wanting to make the schools a beautiful place for kids to come to."

The project also reminds people how "God has called us to serve with a purpose but with no strings," Mr. Ott said.

Delivering cookies to police and firefighters was added to this year's Blue Jean Sunday plans, "because we just thought it would be nice to go out and give those folks some fresh baked goods."

The church will host a Quad Cities Law Enforcement Memorial Service from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

For information about Bethany Baptist, call 309-764-3041, or visit bethanymoline.com.