This weekend is the Annual Gathering of the Northern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ. For 150 years, give or take, Christians in our tribe (and our tribal ancestors) have been gathering together as witness to our Conference covenant of mutual mission, support, and accountability in this particular geography. For most of the last 16 months, I have served as Moderator of the Conference — the primary officer, convener, and facilitator for our form of governance and order.
Last week my car was in the shop for service. (Which is the subject for a whole different post at some point.) Given the particular geography in which I live, and the taxi economics thereof, it means I get a lot of practice in both my public transit and walking skills than usual.
Sometimes in life are these moments, honest and authentic moments when we are floored by our own thoughts or observations. Call them “a-ha!” moments, “duh!” moments, or sometimes moments you don’t want to admit publicly — but they are momentary opportunities for reawakening and renewal. At least, they can be and should be.
So, you’re setting out as a chaperone or adult leader on a youth service trip. God bless you, literally. Chances are you’re not staying at the Hilton (and if you are, don’t tell my chaperones or they’ll expect the same!), but you can almost make a church floor as comfortable an experience as one. As a bonus to the series on service trips, here’s my chaperone survival guide. Continue reading Justice-Service (Bonus)
Sometimes there are just those things that bomb. Sometimes they’re small mishaps, other times they’re a bit more, shall we say, dramatic. (Luckily we haven’t had many of those!) In exploring our structure and what has worked well about our service trip program, here are the bottom three things that we’ve ditched in our experience: Continue reading Justice-Service (Part 5)
I wrote a bit about our structure and what I count as marks of success in the last post. Of course, it hasn’t always been easy to get to the point we’re at. We’ve had some high and low points along the way. Here are my top three things that I think have worked really well: Continue reading Justice-Service (Part 4)
One of the questions I’m asked the most frequently about service trips is what our ENGAGE model at my congregation looks like and what makes it so successful? Continue reading Justice-Service (Part 3)
With all the demands on teenager’s time, and all the ways in which faith communities can impart commitments for social justice, accompaniment and solidarity with marginalized groups, why are service trips particularly important? Continue reading Justice-Service (Part 2)
In all the commentary on trends of young Millennials and the iGeneration at the intersection of religious involvement, it’s easy to get caught up in an attitude of defeatism. These young people aren’t going to make a commitment. Or, Those young people only care about what’s happening on the screen in their hand.
Such categorizations are an oversimplification, of course, but I use them as archetypes that I have actually heard said in conversation. Continue reading Justice-Service (Part 1)