Growing and cultivating the five marks of mission along the King’s Highway
by the Rev. Rob Sommer, All Saints’/Cristo Rey, Watsonville
What started out as a traditional mission trip soon became a new opportunity to bring cultures together and experience a new type of mission trip. This spring, we planned for youth from St. Francis Episcopal Church in Macon, Georgia to come visit El Camino Real and the central coast. The Rev. Ben Wells of St. Francis and the Rev. Deacon Arthur Villarreal of St. James wanted the youth to experience a different kind of mission trip. The Revs. Wells and Villarreal had years of experience with youth ministry and more traditional youth mission programs, but this year called for something different.
The youth started by arriving in Berkeley and staying in the affluent Berkeley Hills next to St. Clements, a 1928 Prayer book church in Berkeley in the Diocese of California. After a couple days of worship and touring in the San Francisco Bay Area, the youth would be exposed to central coastal California. The Rev. Wells came first and served at the 9:30 service in Watsonville, then, all the youth from Macon arrived in Seaside at San Pablo, Apostol in the early afternoon. In Seaside, the youth were joined by the youth from both Watsonville and Seaside as all joined together to help make food for a youth fundraiser. In addition to making food, the youth enjoyed getting to know each other better, through playing games and having a joint youth group session.
After the joint youth group session, the youth sat together in small breakout groups and worshiped at the 7:00pm Spanish language service. After the service, the youth promoted the food sales for the youth group and then were off to All Saints, Carmel. On Monday, the youth had morning prayer in Carmel, followed by a tour of the aquarium. After the tour, the youth headed down to Trinity Gonzales, a prayer station and emerging type church set in the agricultural setting of Gonzales. The youth engaged in more tradition mission work with work in and around the actual church grounds. From there, the youth headed back to Seaside where they were joined by their friends from Seaside and Watsonville as they headed to a beach in Monterey for a Eucharist, bonfire and more fellowship. After that, they headed back to Carmel for another night at All Saints. Tuesday, the youth headed up to Watsonville to drive through the fields. The youth met at All Saints/ Cristo Rey and then were off for a tour of the fields and ranch, to see the lifestyle.
From there, the youth headed back up to Berkeley where on Wednesday, they would again have a more traditional mission experience by volunteering with a food pantry, in Oakland. St. James in Oakland is a parish that is moving forward with a blended English/Spanish service.
The planning of the trip was in line with the purpose, to let God’s mission be revealed. Rather than having a strictly traditional mission-styled experience, the focus was on letting the mission reveal itself in the planning. Having partners that were willing to allow for this space was critical to allowing it to come to life. Having traditional and non-traditional elements were important to allow the youth not only to see mission as works of charity, but to allow them an experience both living and worshiping with youth from a different context. Additionally, seeing similarities as well as differences and expressing those was also a goal.
By bringing the youth together and having them experience the different types of cultures, contexts, worship and environments, the breadth of mission could be explored. When looking at Mission as defined by the Episcopal Church, we find the following published on the website:
The Five Marks Of Mission – The Mission of the Church is the Mission of Christ
- To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
- To teach, baptize, and nurture new believers
- To respond to human need by loving service
- To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation
- To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.
Through the experiences the youth had, they were able to experience the different marks of mission, all along the King’s Highway. The process of reflection is now taking place, where the youth are being lead through a process of discernment and discovery about what the experience has meant to them. Two initial observations that were made came one from each side. When the youth from Georgia were reflecting on their time in Seaside and worship experience, they noted the discomfort with the differences, the language and style being different then they were used to experiencing. Yet as they dug a little deeper, the positive connections came out…”they really get community,” was the consensus.
And from the ECR side, when asked what the experience meant, the very honest answer came, “I don’t know, yet.” The Georgia youth commented later that they were impressed with how open, honest and genuine the comments were and that asking about belief in a direct way was exciting. Later in the evening, one of the ECR youth had a great comment as it related to the mission when asked what it meant to them responded with,” We’re all here together, aren’t we?”
If you are going back to school, as a teacher or a student, we will be blessing you and your backpack, briefcase or other teaching-learning tools. We also want to make sure our neighbors know about this and feel free to join in and find out about the very Episcopal tradition of offering blessings. Please join us at either our 9:00am service or our 11:00am service.
What an energetic Pentecost! We did it…raised $5,000 to allow for a new sports area and to reinforce a wall for the girls of Our Little Roses in Honduras. Muchas gracias Kirsten for your leadership and passion and to St. Mary’s Youth Group for your hard work and organization. The red bricked wall, created by the Youth Group, represents $5,000 in gifts. A Baleada lunch, traditional in Honduras, musical entertainment and my favorite popsicles, capped a delightful day. OLR, we hope to be with you in 2014!
Building on eight seasons of talent and tradition, All Saints’ will offer Bach to the Future in the summer of 2013. The two one-week sessions offer music and fun for children in kindergarten through the sixth grade. Each session will include plenty of singing and music-making, drawing, and dancing. The children will also explore history and languages, and interact with singers and instrumentalists from the Carmel Bach Festival!
- Summer program for children in elementary school grades K-6
- Children may register for one session, or they may attend both sessions
- Led by Carteena Robohm, Director, and Todd Samra, Assistant Director
For more information, see the All Saints’, Carmel, website.
[from the York School website] Just days into Winter Break, Montana heard the devastating news about the Sandy Hook shooting tragedy. Overcome by sadness, Montana looked for a way to channel her grief. Donating to the scholarship fund and carrying out 26 Acts of Kindness helped, but she still wanted to do more. Then Montana was reminded of the healing power of music and she went to work with her younger sister, who likes to write harmonies, and her dad, who plays the guitar, to write a song that expressed her sadness.
Next, Montana engaged Mr. Walker to write the choral arrangement for the song. “I love to see kids come up with creative projects and this one turned out to be a good professional challenge for me as well. I haven’t written an arrangement of someone else’s work since graduate school.”
Using his arrangement, Mr. Walker worked with York’s choir through multiple practices to perfect the song so that it could be recorded and shared. After Monday’s successful recording session, Montana will now send the song to Newtown’s School Superintendent who has agreed to share it with the Sandy Hook Community. The song has also been released in video format created by Kevin Brookhouser using an audio recording made by Noah Reeves.
“It’s been a healing process; I feel like I’ve done something and the school community will be able to listen to this and know a bunch of teenagers across the country are still thinking about them,” says Montana of the project.
Click here to see KSBW’s coverage of the story.
A traditional Honduran Lunch with “baleadas” will follow the 10 o’clock service. Lunch is $10 per person or $25 per family with children five and under free. All proceeds will go towards the health, education and safety of the girls growing up at Our Little Roses in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Our goal is to raise $5,000 to extend the protective fencing to encompass the full property thereby expanding the area for outdoor activities such as soccer.
So we can gage the amount of food needed, please let us know if you are coming by emailing Kirsten Matsumoto – email@example.com or Celeste Ventura – firstname.lastname@example.org or call the parish office at 831-373-4441.
At least one person at St. Mary’s is dreaming of a soccer match someday between the girls of Our Little Roses and the kids involved with Peace, Power and Youth through the All Saints Community in the greater Watsonville area.
For more information and a map of the event location, click here.