Faith, Young Adults, and Urban Partnernships

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

LiT Book!

This summer we are also reading a book together and talking about it, and this time we are reading Rob Bell's new book What we Talk about When We Talk about God. We've already discussed the first four chapters, and next week we will be talking about the rest. YOU can join us in our discussion if you've read it by leaving your comments. Here is a summary of the book:

New York Times bestselling author Rob Bell, whom the The New Yorker describes as “one of the most influential Christian leaders in the county,” does for the concept of God what he did for heaven and hell in his book Love Wins: He shows how traditional ideas have grown stale and dysfunctional and how to return vitality and vibrancy to lives of faith today.

Pastor Rob Bell explains why both culture and the church resist talking about God, and shows how we can reconnect with the God who is pulling us forward into a better future. Bell uses his characteristic evocative storytelling to challenge everything you think you know about God. What We Talk About When We Talk About God tackles the misconceptions about God and reveals how God is with us, for us, ahead of us, and how understanding this could change the entire course of our lives.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

July 23 - Sweating for God

Today wasn't very exciting, but it was productive. We spent the day at the Elect Saints Trenton
location packing stuff onto a truck for storage and cleaning up, getting the building ready for sale. One
part of the day that was kind of exciting was watching the guys move the piano from downstairs to the
truck. By exciting, I mean terrifying. Still, by some miracle they got it up the stairs with no one getting
seriously hurt.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Singing about God's love

Today, July 17th, we began our day of LIT by taking a tour of Resurrection Lutheran Church.  Pastor Nelson gave us an overview of the church; he explained the church’s mission as well as providing insight about its congregation.  We were then give an assortment of different assignments and off to work we went.  Despite the heat, Kevin and I worked together and trimmed branches of a tree growing into the parking lot.  Ed and Alexis worked on cleaning the various windows of the church and the rest of the group helped package food. 

Sweaty and feeling accomplished, we headed back to St. Bart’s for our third night of VBS.  Tonight our overall theme was that trusting in God helps us to stand strong.  The kids were taught the story of Jesus’ death and of his resurrection.  They made crowns during the craft and were given a delicious dinner consisting of chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, and green beans (even though many kids passed on these).  At the end of the day we learned a new song called "the crazy song."  It got the kids excited and moving around.  It was really amazing seeing and hearing kids so happy while singing about God’s love.

- Matt

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

July 16 - A day full of friends

Our Day at LIT started bright and early at Mercer Street Friends in Trenton, NJ there we spoke to the Supervisor of the Program who gave us a very detailed over view.  She explained that Mercer Street Friends is non-profit organization that was started by Quakers and is now funded by the state and other private donations.  Mercer Street Friends has an Adult Learning Center which helps people work towards a GED and help get them job-ready. They also work with children (they have a daycare), they have various food banks and they help provide home health care for the elderly.

After getting the run-down on how everything works, we were to put to work.  We bagged over 75 bags of food for families. After we bagged food, we headed back to St. Bart’s for the second day of VBS. The theme of the day was "Family and Friends helps us Stand Strong."  We used the story of Queen Esther and the King, and how Esther stood for her people and through her they were saved.  My favorite part of the day was hearing the kids reflect on the day and how to see how they really understood the story and related to the story.

 - Alexis

Monday, July 15, 2013

July 15 - a Visit to St. Mark's and VBS at St. Bart's

A new week started for the LIT, and we continued our journey visiting the rest of the Lutherans churches in our cluster. That afternoon we stopped by to visit St. Mark's in Hamilton, which we met Pastor Linda Thurston. We had our daily midday worship her and then she showed us around the building.  She talked about when she stared worshiping there St. Marks and their mission statement/goal of the church. We the LIT asked a few questions about the church and more about the community that she worships at.    

After leaving St. Marks we went to start our first day of VBS and St. Bartholomew Lutheran Church. We  helped out cleaning and preparing the food for the VBS kids that were attending that afternoon. We did songs with the kids, played outdoor games, snack time, and story time with. The first day was fun and we  learned a few things from the VBS program. After all was done, and the kids went home we had our daily evening prayer, and we went home for the day.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Experiencing Creativity in Trenton

After meeting at St. Bartholomew and having out morning devotion, we started the day learning about a new kind of prayer. Pastor Aaron gave the eight of us a short lesson on “how to practice Lectio Divina.” This was of praying is done by reading a short passage of the Bible in a slow manner so that you can reflect on something that stuck out to you in the reading. We read the story of the good Samaritan, since most of us were familiar with it and could really pick a part that stuck out to us. As Pastor Aaron read the story to us, we closed our eyes and reflected in silence. The passage was read three times to really give us a chance to think about it and hear new things to focus on each time.
Today was also the last day of VBS with the Elect Saints congregation. When we concluded out lesson we drove over to PA for Vacation Bible School. When all of the kids arrived, we broke off into our groups according to age and had an overview of what we had talked about that week. Since it was raining and not the nicest day out, we had to come up with a couple inside activities. For our closing meal we had chicken and rice that was cooking in a Liberian sauce - that was really good.

For our last stop on a Friday evening we went to the 24-hour art show in Trenton. As we walked through the building there were many wonderful painting of people in a more abstract design. When we made our way through the building we were introduced to the man who ran the showing and he escorted us out to the side where they were constructing a garden with old, non-usable materials. It was really interesting to see the way they were taking things that seem to be useless and transforming an area with them to make it beautiful. Seeing a very different way to help the area through art really stuck out to me. No many people are familiar with the art scene in Trenton so it was great to see how it can make a difference for a small area.

- Kevin

Thursday, July 11, 2013

July 11: Pure Joy

Today, we first met at St. Bart’s to do morning devotion and some prep work for next week’s VBS. We made decorations and did a lot of painting. We then headed over to Elect Saints to do "park day" at their VBS. Today’s was held at the old building, because the congregational meeting for the other church in their new building was tonight.

While we were waiting for the kids to arrive, a game of shuffleboard started up. Pastor Aaron and Kevin played against Lauren and Matt. After some of the kids got there, Lauren and I played a round of Cups with one of the young kids. We were all impressed with how fast he could go. (For those who don’t know what Cups is, you can find a large number of videos on YouTube).

Once most of the kids were there, we took them to the nearby park. We had basketball and a kickball game going, while most of the younger kids played around on the playground. There were a few minor injuries, but the weather cooperated and the kids had a lot of fun. For dinner, they had hot dogs with chips and lemonade. The lemonade was very refreshing after spending the evening outside trying to keep up with a bunch of kids.

There was one thing that really stuck out to me today. There was a seesaw on the playground, and the kids all wanted a turn. Most of them didn’t have legs long enough to reach the ground, so we had to manually rock it back and forth from the middle. The squeals of pure joy that came out of some of those kids reminded me of my own childhood, and how I used to find joy in simple things like that. It made me think about how we lose that as we grow older, and has made me resolved to let my inner child breathe a bit more.

- Rachel