Mission: Discovering the Greatness of God’s People

Join me in welcoming guest blogger the Reverend Abigail W. Moon, Associate Rector at St John’s Episcopal Church, Tallahassee. Abi is familiar to many from several years in youth ministry in various dioceses of Province IV and her work with the Episcopal Youth Event in 2011. It is always an honor to share Abi’s wisdom and reflections with my friends and colleagues across the church.

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Province IV Youth Short Term Mission Team in Quito, Ecuador

On July 9-19, a team of 25 (18 youth and 7 adults) gathered together for the first time to venture out as a Short Term Mission Team to partner with Youth World in Quito, Ecuador.

Like any mission team, this group listened to God’s call for them to take a step out of the comfort zone, to learn something new and to be transformed.

Working with Cameron Graham Vivanco, an Episcopal missionary through South American Mission Society, the team met their brothers and sisters at Buen Pastor. Together they gathered around the table for meals, for worship, for teaching and for laughter. Together, side by side, they taught Vacation Bible School, made concrete, plastered walls, and painted the walls of Buen Pastor.

Everything we did could have been done by anyone – we were not the only folks who could do the labor. In being present and working alongside the parishioners of Buen Pastor, we worked and learned not only how to make concrete the old fashioned way, we also learned how to grow in relationship – the old fashioned way – through time, presence and sharing.

In broken Spanglish, we loved, laughed, and lived with our new family and listened to what God was stirring in both us and the community of which we were a part.

God plants seeds in each of us, mission teams are one way to gather around the table with those who might not look like ourselves, sound like ourselves, and to discover the greatness of God’s Kingdom and the vastness of the church!

For more information regarding the Province IV Youth Short Term Mission Team, visit our blog: pyequito2013.blogspot.com

For more information about wonderful ministries in Quito and how you can support them click the links below:

Education Equals Hope

Youth World

The Vivanco Ministry in Ecuador

Deadline for Taize-Pine Ridge Extended

The registration deadline for the Taize-Pine Ridge “Pilgrimage of Trust on Earth” was just extended to May 10.

The extension is not for lack of registrants, which are numbering far beyond expectations. Instead, the deadline is extended to accomodate everyone who is called to participate.

The “Pilgrimage of Trust on Earth” will be held in the “Far West” of the United States — in Red Shirt, South Dakota, a tiny village at the edge of the Badlands on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The outdoor gathering will include meditative prayer together three times a day, Bible study, workshops, small group sharing, and meals together, provided by the local Lakota people.

The event is meant for young people aged 18-35 but is welcoming youth and adults of all ages.

Register online now.

Searching for a summer service opportunity? Consider the Province 7 Youth Summer of Service

Summer of Service

Still looking for a summer service opportunity for your youth group?

Province 7 is offering a Week of Service (July 8th-14th) in Dallas for 8th-12th graders.

The total cost is $375 which includes a stay at the University of Dallas, 4 days of service with youth from all over the province and 1 day of Six Flags.

See the website http://province7youth.org/for all important details and to register.

The group has limited space available for groups from outside the Province so contact them soon if you are interested.

What are you doing this summer? And why?

Summer MissionAcross the church youth groups are in varying degrees of discernment and/or preparation for spring break and summer mission experiences.

Some are called mission trips, others are pilgrimages, and some are cultural immersions.

Each of these perspectives is a form of short term mission in which we are attempting to join God’s greater mission in a part of the world other than our own back yard.

I strongly recommend that all who are planning or even contemplating this sort of youth engagement to read the recent article from Youth Worker. Andrew Root, a professor in Youth and Family Ministries at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, offers a careful exploration about short term mission that may transform your event in the planning.

He concludes, ” They are not to be used as tools to move kids  into religious commitment, but rather are opportunities to participate in tasting God’s future. It might be that in our small and insignificant actions of service we witness to God’s future, and by our witness—by taking action—we are pulled into participation.”

I am curious about your conclusions about the purposes of mission experiences. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

We will also be offering news of short term Episcopal Missions in which your youth group could participate this summer.

So stay tuned and let us know if you offer mission experiences in your neck of the woods. We want to make sure that all opportunities are on the Youth Ministry Network Radar.

February 17 is Episcopal Relief & Development Sunday

Episcopal Relief & DevelopmentThe first Sunday in Lent is Episcopal Relief & Development Sunday. This event – and others like them – offer perfect opportunities for youth to build their community leadership skills.

Episcopal Relief & Development offers support materials, including:

  • downloadable checklist to help participating churches plan for this special Sunday, 
  • Storiesphotos and videos that illustrate the organization’s work, and
  • other Lenten materials that can be ordered through Episcopal Marketplace to help highlight the organization’s mission of healing a hurting world.

Creative ideas for recognizing Episcopal Relief & Development Sunday include:

  • offering Bishops Blend Coffee and Tea to educate your community on the importance of supporting growers of fair trade, organic, shade-grown coffee and tea, and
  • writing a special sermon or prayers focusing attention on the challenges of global poverty and disease.

Recent examples of how congregations have engaged creatively with issues of poverty and sustainable development during Lent and on Episcopal Relief & Development Sunday can be found in the following “Friends of Episcopal Relief & Development” features:

Congregations are encouraged to designate an offering for Episcopal Relief & Development’s Global Needs Fund, which enables the agency to reach those most in need worldwide.

Are you planning to sponsor an Episcopal Relief & Development Sunday activity?

Post your plans and ideas in the comments below.