When a young lawyer asks Jesus "what is the greatest commandment," Jesus replies to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and strength and might," and he said, the second is like it: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
Loving our neighbor is just one way that we live out our Christian faith. But it is a way the world comes to know Christ.
Our neighbors are all people. Sometimes our neighbors might be in close proximity to us. Other times our neighbors might be connected in spirit halfway across the globe. We are asked by Christ to serve our neighbors, particularly those in need. Jesus states in Matthew 25 that when we feed the hungry, clothe the naked and visit those in prison, we do so to him. So our Christian service to those we might consider "the least" actually offer us "the most," through a deeper relationship with Christ. We feed and clothe and visit those in need because we love our neighbor in the spirit of Christ and we don't want them to be hurting. We believe that if the church is not serving its neighbors in need, it is not fulfilling its mission.
At Walnut Hill UMC we are dedicated to serving the needs that we see as forces of poverty, injustice and oppression in our community. Our outreach is predominately local because our community is diverse in socioeconomic makeup, and there are many needs on our front doorstep. We are dedicated to connecting through relationship. So instead of assuming a need exists in our community, we develop relationships to discover mutually empowering solutions to meet those needs. This means that our relationships in our community are long term and steadfast. When we form relationships serving our neighbor, we find that we are mutually transformed into more faithful Christians. We find out more about Christ's love the more we love our neighbor.