Last week 18 high school youth and their leaders came to Washington DC for our first “Service and Learning” event, which were formerly known as “Come and See” events. “Come and See” trips were an important program for the Festival Center and Church of the Saviour to share with visiting groups the exciting work happening in Washington DC through Church of the Saviour ministries and Festival Center partners.
The Festival Center welcomed Park Avenue United Methodist Church in Minneapolis, MN with service projects, speakers, tours, and more. Each morning the group started their day with a service project. The grouped served at So Others Might Eat (S.O.M.E), Joseph’s House, Bread for the City, and Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House. The group also heard from prevalent leaders in our work for social change, community, and call.
Jim Marsh, UMC Clergy person, Core member of Bread of Life Church, and Child and Adolescent Pyschotherapist, challenged the group to think about how churches all too often encourage passivity among their members. Jim urged them to think about their own call to serve their community. Keith Anderson and Delontae Britton of the organization, Headwaters, told their personal stories and their call to mentor young men in the District of Columbia. Gerson Quinteros, from United We Dream, spoke with the young adults about how young people have led the movement for immigration reform and asked the group to think about how they can be active in leading movements for justice in their own context. AnaYelsi Velasco-Sanchez, founder of En Conjunto, a collective providing support, community, resources, and collaborative opportunities to People of Color working independently at the intersection of justice and spirituality, led a participatory exercise which enabled the youth to deepen their understanding of themselves through art and poetry.
Finally, the group went to the Museum of the Palestinian People, which took place just days after 47 Palestinians, including 16 children, were killed in attacks in Gaza. And the group also learned what it means to build movements for justice and create systemic change through a tour of the Church of the Saviour ministries in Adam’s Morgan.
The Festival Center is excited for a continued partnership with Park Avenue United Methodist.
Is your church or community interested in future Service and Learning events? Contact Bill Mefford at firstname.lastname@example.org.