BOTHELL, Wash. — Slumped over the wheel of a stubborn car that just won’t start, many a desperate person has pleaded with God for help.
For mechanics Craig Brandenburg and Teang Ie, praying for automotive miracles is just part of the routine at Cedar Park Assembly of God church, where every weekday the two service a steady stream of cars in their mechanics ministry.
Cedar Park is one of many churches across the nation offering such a service, where single women, the elderly, poor and others can receive a hassle-free fix-up for a low price. Some ministries even refurbish donated cars, then give them away or sell them at a bargain rate.
“For the last five years, this has taken off all over the place,” said Peter Leschuck, lead mechanic for the cars ministry at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill. Fifteen years ago, the suburban Chicago megachurch opened its mechanics ministry, believed to be the first in the nation, and now advises others on how to start their own.
Hey, don’t laugh. At the parish I attend, the pay phone has been known to be out of service for months on end. I’ve had to lend my cell phone to fellow parishioners who couldn’t use the pay phone or raise anyone in the parish office. (Just to be sure, always dial the number for them. Kindness shouldn’t mean getting stiffed with a direct call to Tokyo at cell phone rates.)
I know that the Catholic Church offers the greater supernatural good of the sacraments, but sometimes I wish local parishes were half as creative as Protestant megachurches at tending to the natural needs of their flocks, as well.
Now, why can’t we do stuff like this?
For once I wasn’t laughing. I totally applaud those that help others using the capabilities and talents that they have.