With just two weeks until our Community Ministers move in, you may be wondering why you keep seeing YASC updates in your emails and on the website. YASC stands for Young Adult Service Communities, an intentional community developed by the United Church of Christ to bring together people aged 22-30 for eleven months of service. This new ministry is similar to Partners in Service that we’ve recruited Wellspring volunteer’s for, but it’s more involved spiritually and there are multiple people rather than one or two.
The women who will be our Community Ministers have applied through the UCC’s Volunteer Ministries and were interviewed by that office, by the YASC ministry team at Old First, and by the host agencies we thought they’d be a good fit for. Once all agencies were in agreement about the placement, offers were made and accepted. We are excited for these partnerships with the young women, the UCC, and the local host agencies.
Margaret, Julie, and Kayla will be spending two hours a week in spiritual reflection with Rich Forcier. He is the spiritual sojourner and will be following a curriculum developed by the UCC to help all YASC participants discern their faith while in service. All communities, nationwide, will be taking this journey together. For four days in early September, spiritual sojourners and the community ministers will meet in California for an opening retreat to prepare them for their year of service together. Once they return from their retreat, they will be welcomed into our church community on September 8th.
In addition to spiritual sojourning, the Community Members are charged with performing six hours of church community leadership work. The goal of this time is for the participants to grow in their commitment and desire to serve within the church. Each person will identify the place at Old First that their gifts can best be used. The ladies have already expressed interest in the Outreach Ministries, Adult Christian Education and Youth Group activities. We are excited to help them grow and find their place within our community.
The bulk of their time at Old First will be spent with their host agency – Outreach Ministries, POWER, and Bethesda Project. Our Community Ministers will be working with our partners for 32 hours each week, serving the Philadelphia community in a variety of ways. Kayla will be the Outreach Coordinator and will be supervising and managing the Cupboard, shelter volunteers and Urban Service Camp ministry. Margaret will be the director of online communication with POWER, working with social media and other aspects of advertising/recruitment. Julie will be a Shelter Assistant and will assist Bethesda clients with achieving their housing and recovery goals.
The three women will be living together in the space that was previously the parsonage, the third and fourth floors of the Fox Building. Each person will have their own room, with shared living space, kitchen, and bathrooms. We have received a great amount of donations and are pleased with how the space has come together. If you have any household items or furniture that you’re looking to re-home, contact the church office. We may be able to take a few items off your hands.
What does this mean for Old First? (1)We’ll have extra hands to assist in church leadership roles, for one. There is always more than enough work for one person and with three extra pair of hands to help with planning church events, leading youth trips, etc, it’ll be less stressful. (2)The church won’t feel so empty. With the addition of the new residents, the church will always have someone on site- in addition to Carl, the sexton. (3)Our partnerships with POWER and Bethesda Project will hopefully go stronger as we work together in this new way. Old First is always looking for ways to be more active with those who support our ministries, and perhaps we’ve found that niche.
If you want to be part of the YASC ministry team, which meets every other month to discuss the community and supports the Community Ministers growth in our community, please contact Beth Walker.
Also, if you’d like to donate items or want more information about the community, contact the church office.
Don’t forget to mark your calendar for the picnic to welcome the YASC participants – September 14th at 1:30pm.