Last Harvest Church reaches out to the ignored
For two years from his garage, Bikers for Christ Pastor Tony Grasso preached love and service to others to an ever-growing congregation.
In the summer, they would assemble in Mills Park for Sunday service, filling tables with clothes and food for anyone in need. Grasso said he wouldn’t “hit people over the head with the Bible,” but if they seemed receptive to his message, he would not only feed their bellies, he would feed their souls.
“That’s what we are trying to do is to get people to love and serve one another, especially in times like now when we can’t depend on the system or the government,” he said Friday. “We’ve got to depend on loving God first and then loving others as yourself. It’s more than talk, it means bearing each other’s burdens, helping meet each other’s needs. It’s more action than talk.”
When Grasso’s outreach outgrew his garage, he found the Educare School on Lone Mountain Drive, which had been empty for a year. He offered to help. His non-denominational Last Harvest Church paid for repairs, and members of the congregation volunteered the labor. Grasso’s wife Sue entered and won a contest sponsored by the Sierra Nevada Association of Realtors last May and got even more help with painting and repairs.
Educare is now back in business, and on Sundays the classroom is transformed into a chapel.
Grasso’s goal, he said, is to reach out to the ignored.
“All homeless, poor, sick, handicapped, blind, deaf, street people, widows, orphans, runaways, addicts, criminal, prostitutes, lonely people, old folks, kids of all ages, crazies, hardcore bikers, independents and anybody else,” reads the handprinted posters Grasso uses to advertise the church. “All outcasts welcome.”
“I’ve never known a church that specifically looks to people like this as special and important. The fact of the matter is, God uses ordinary people, ordinary broken people, he resists the proud but gives his grace to the humble,” said Grasso. “We’re more of a giving, working, serving church.”
Grasso, laid off from his job with Waste Management after 20 years, said he takes no wage other than $150 a week. The rest of the offerings made during service go to helping others, “without bureaucracy and politics,” he said.
“If someone is in need, we help them,” he said.
Sunday service is a “southern fried rocking blues worship,” said Grasso. “At most church services people are waiting for it to get over. Here, I have to kick people out.”
In addition to Sunday service, on Wednesdays they hold Bible study at the Educare building, and on Thursdays there is a 12-step program for addicts.
And as word of mouth brings in more and more devotees, Last Harvest Church is outgrowing its digs and looking for another home – a result he prays will come to fruition.
Until then, said Grasso, he’ll continue to serve the Lord and the people.
“I’m just a regular guy like everyone else. I got my struggles like everyone. I’m just trying to get people to love one another,” he said. “There’s a lot of love in this church, such peace and love and brotherhood.”
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