Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world.
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good.
Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.
God, help us to live now and serve now! Amen.
-St. Teresa of Avila
If you passed by the Cathedral close on April 17, 2015 at 8pm, you would have seen tents and cardboard boxes being set up and heard youth and their youth leaders worshipping God in St. Alban’s parish hall.
In this year’s Live Now Serve Now formation opportunity, youth and their youth leaders from across churches and regions joined together to learn and experience why service and outreach are important parts of a Christian life. Friday night participants had the choice of sleeping out on the west lawn of the Cathedral or at St. Alban’s parish rectory. We opened with an amazing worship with the. Rev. Kent Marcoux as our musician and the. Rev. Sari Ateek as our speaker. We talked and sang about being the hands and feet of Christ and being the light of Christ to everyone we meet. We then broke out into small groups where we talked about fears, comforts, witnessing, and mission based on our Gospel passage for the weekend: Luke 24:36b-48. “It was great to meet the youth and adults from different parishes. I especially liked the upbeat music and the heartfelt sermons at both services. Enjoying the beauty of the cathedral and the perfect weather helped me get closer to God,” says Brien from St. George’s, Valley Lee.
As the sun began to rise on Saturday morning, there was no tossing and turning from those who slept outside on the west lawn of the National Cathedral or inside the St. Alban’s parish rectory. While getting ready for the day, we reflected on what it was like camping outside in DC. As Bishop Mariann led us in Eucharist, she invited us to pay attention to the emotions and experiences we had while serving and to notice that God is at work in it all. Then everyone was sent out to five mission locations throughout Washington DC area. We gathered our groups and took the buses and Metro to each of the mission sites.
At each mission site, young people learned about the mission of the ministry, engaged in a hands-on experience and then debriefed what they had experienced. The organizations included:
Grace’s Table, Grace Church Georgetown – We helped to served lunch and ate with those we served. Grace’s Table is a fellowship that provides and shares a meal at 11:30 am on Saturdays for persons who are homeless or on the margins of being homeless.
Epiphany Mission Center, Epiphany Episcopal Church, DC– We took a tour of the mission center and then went to a nearby park to engage and pray for the people we met. The Epiphany Mission Center offers a weekend retreat called EMC-DC which offers groups a chance to explore the question, “Who is my neighbor?” while observing, engaging, and responding to injustice in the world around them.
Seabury Assisted Living, Friendship Heights, DC- A group participated in making door hangers with residents. Seabury Resources for Aging’s mission is to provide personalized, affordable services and housing options to help older adults in the greater Washington, DC area live with independence and dignity.
DC127- Foster Parents’ Home and Packing Boxes for Homeless Youth – One group went to a foster parents’ house to help clean and weed the yard. Another group went to St. Columba’s to stuff boxes with supplies and goodies for youth who are homeless. DC127 is an initiative of Washington, DC churches focused on working together to ensure the success of every child in foster care and those at risk of entering the child welfare system. As an initiative, they believe we have a responsibility and call to mobilize our communities and congregations to care for some of the most vulnerable children in our city.
Matthew from Christ Church, Durham reflects on his time at a mission site and says, “There is something special that happens when a stranger shares their story with you. Their appreciation and the connection you feel brings a sense of joy despite the circumstances.”
“The people there were so kind and accepting; it reminds you how we should live our lives everyday. This weekend was definitely a huge boost for my faith and I’m sad it’s over, can wait for next year’s!” says Jimmy from St. Francis’, Potomac.
“You are a home for the weary and lost. You are a home for the orphan. those who cry mercy find hope in the cross, for you are home for the broken.”
-lyrics and song by Sari Ateek
As everyone started making their way back from their missions sites to St. Alban’s parish, some were filled with excitement about telling someone else about their experience, some were saddened by what they had seen and some felt called to do something similar at their own parish.
If you would like to do something similar at your parish or community, we have listed below the liturgy/music, small group questions and provided links to all the mission locations, please feel free to use any and all the resources.
Thank you to all who participated, planned, and organized, including Pattie Ames, St. Columbas; Josh Ruiter, St. Francis Potomac; Steve Seely, St. Pauls Piney; Sue Von, St. Dunstan’s; Melissa Williams, St. Timothy’s, DC; Kent Marcoux, St. Georges, DC. We would like to invite all who did not get a chance to serve in the DC community with your diocese this year to come next year and to continue to be the hands and feet of Christ in your own community.
Saturday morning small group reflection questions (put together by the Rev. Amanda Akes)