The church in service

CHE hosts workshops to educate and strengthen church community service efforts


In early June, Walla Walla University’s Center for Humanitarian Engagement (CHE) hosted a weekend-long community engagement workshop. The training was open to all community members, as a part of the CHE's CARE Project, and was designed to help define the purpose of the church in community engagement; participants learned how to set goals for and measure the success of community service efforts. The event was sponsored by the North Pacific Union Conference along with Adventist Community Services at the North American Division

As the CHE’s CARE Project specialist, senior math and psychology major Jocelyn Curiel served as student lead for this weekend, organizing its events alongside CHE executive director David Lopez. The CARE Project’s mission is to increase the involvement of young people in community service; this weekend was about setting a baseline for churches who host service opportunities to make it easier and more effective for young people and community members to volunteer.

Curiel says, “it is more important to think about why rather than what. You need to know more than just that you want to help, because that is too directionless.” She believes that being intentional in service produces stronger results, and this workshop’s events were meant to provide that clarity of mission. 

The weekend began with an optional service opportunity and an evening workshop about mission and vision by Lopez—what churches wish to accomplish in service and how to follow through. The next morning, WWU School of Business’s Dr. Stephen Pilgrim presented on why service is important to Christians and why it should be established in the church. The rest of the day included a tour of the WWU campus, and a final workshop by CHE associate director Joanna Nelson about understanding success indicators of community service. 

After speaking with attendees, Curiel discovered the general consensus was that the weekend was extremely beneficial and appreciated. She confirms the CHE will be planning more similar workshops for the future.

For more about future service opportunities and workshops or general CHE information, visit

Posted June 27, 2024

Joanna Nelson presenting on community outreach