Old First, this upcoming week we are hosting two Urban Service Camp groups: Christ United Church of Christ from Orville, Ohio and The Old Meeting House from Montpelier, Vermont.
Our Urban Service Camp ministry welcomes youth, adult and intergenerational groups for weekend or week-long visits, which combine direct service at a number of organizations throughout Philadelphia with time for reflection on the realities of urban inequality and homelessness.
Traveling from Ohio, Christ United Church of Christ, bring with them 7 volunteers ranging in age from twelve to sixty. And journeying from Vermont, The Old Meeting House consists of fourteen volunteers, ages fifteen to eighteen years old.
In combining direct community service with time for reflection, Christ United Church of Christ and The Old Meeting House will be volunteering at a number of service sites including: St. Peter’s Food Pantry and SHARE Food Bank. Both organizations work to collect donated canned goods and non-perishable items that are then distributed people, especially families, who can’t afford to fill their grocery carts with all the food they need to survive. Service Campers will also volunteer at Chosen 300, Broad Street Ministry and Sunday Breakfast Mission. These are establishments, like our Saturday Breakfast and Shelter Dinner ministries, that provide countless meals to people living in poverty.
In their direct work with these organizations, both youth and adult participants will find time for reflection. A powerful component of Service Camps in which contemplation takes place, based on their personal experiences of the harsh realities (such as lack of food and shelter) faced by so many in our city, a reality that many of you have been apart of and have witnessed when serving and fellowshiping with our homeless guests during Shelter dinners, Saturday breakfasts and clothing cupboards.
Old First, please join me in welcoming both groups to our church and our community this week. Let’s look to pray for and with them in their journey as they take part in important volunteer work, volunteer work that will lend itself to opening their hearts and minds to the injustices faced by so many in Philadelphia. Let it also be a time for them where a mission of outreach, is teamed with spiritual and social growth.
~Alesha, Outreach Coordinator