Teen Mission Experience in Ferguson, Missouri

holtThis Saturday, June 25, eleven of our high school youth and four of our adult Journey to Adulthood leaders will board three 15-passenger vans at 6:00 am with friends from St. Martin’s, St. Mark’s (Huntersville), St. Patrick’s (Mooresville), and All Saints’ (Concord) to travel to Ferguson and St. Louis, Missouri, and return on Friday, July 1. We seek to understand and make a difference in race relations and systemic injustice.

We are most grateful to parishioner Teddy Foster, who grew up in St. Louis and worked with many community service organizations in the area, for designing this mission experience and accompanying the group as a guide and leader. North Carolina teens and teens from Episcopal churches in Ferguson and St. Louis with whom we are partnering (St. Stephen’s and The Vine Episcopal Church, Ferguson; All Saints’ Episcopal, St. Louis; and Episcopal Church of the Ascension, St. Louis) are joining forces with a number of community development organizations in Ferguson to serve and to learn. Our planned outreach activities include cooking and serving a “Peace Meal” through St. Stephen’s, planning and providing a neighborhood “Fun Day Carnival,” participating in neighborhood beautification projects, and holding a toiletries drive and delivery for seniors. Our learning activities include an historical tour entitled “From Slavery to Ferguson” with a university professor, a presentation and workshop on dismantling racism, a poverty simulation, and a tour of Washington University in St. Louis, focusing on the Washington University Library’s groundbreaking efforts to protect and preserve digital documentation of racism in the area. Another of the adult leaders traveling with us is also an experienced filmmaker and will document the trip and provide us with a professionally edited video of our experiences.

Systemic injustice and racism continue to plague our country. During a recent trip to the Martin Luther King Memorial, our teens saw Dr. King’s powerful statement, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” and that statement has made a profound impact on them. I applaud and celebrate the teens and their parents who have made this commitment to work to change themselves and, in doing so, to help change the world. Following in the footsteps of Mahatma Ghandi, “We need not wait to see what others do.”

We ask for your prayers as we make this journey next week.

–Lyn Holt, Director of Youth Formation