(OGA) Visitors attending the 224th General Assembly (2020) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) next summer in Baltimore will have the opportunity to put their hands and feet to work during the assembly. The Center, a mission outreach of the Presbytery of Baltimore, will be offering hands-on service opportunities for youth groups and others. Registration is now open for Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, June 22, 24–26.
“Our local partners are looking forward to sharing their stories with General Assembly Hands and Feet volunteers,” said Kate Foster Connors, The Center’s executive director. “They do the hard work of building relationships all year, and they’re excited so many Presbyterians are coming to support their congregations as they continue to grow their missional engagement.”
The Office of the General Assembly selected The Center as the focus of its Hands and Feet initiative, launched by the Reverend Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the PC(USA). The initiative provides grassroots support for communities to facilitate change.
Over the past year and a half, visiting group volunteers have come to The Center to help develop relationships across lines of race, class, theology, and culture. They take those experiences back to their own communities to continue the work.
Foster Connors says volunteers at next year’s General Assembly will be placed with one of The Center’s partners to support neighborhood ministry.
“For instance, a highly used food pantry may need to be cleaned and organized, or a growing neighborhood after-school program may need a room painted and cleaned,” she said. “An urban church with runoff challenges may need help installing a rain garden to stem runoff from sidewalks and roofs. Service options will vary, but all options will arise from projects designed by our partners.”
Baltimore-area churches will provide housing for the groups coming to serve during General Assembly (GA). The churches will provide sleeping areas and a kitchen.
“If your group is serving and needs housing at a church, please book ‘Housing and Service’ tickets. If you are attending GA, staying in one of the hotels and wish to serve on days, register for ‘Service Only’ tickets,” said Foster Connors. “‘Housing Only’ tickets are available to groups that are arriving for GA-related events and need housing prior to serving other days.”
Andrew Yeager-Buckley, manager of the Hands and Feet initiative for the Office of the General Assembly, has served alongside several congregations that have traveled to Baltimore to participate in The Center’s programs.
“These experiences have been personally transformative and have changed the way I think about mission, community, and relationships. The staff has created an innovative mission experience that gives participants the opportunity to serve, but more importantly, be educated around the theology of mission and the socioeconomic roots of poverty and racism,” he said. “We’re excited to offer these service opportunities during the week of General Assembly. Our hope is that they will give participants a taste of the relationships local churches and community organizations have built with their neighbors and the ways they’ve reached out with love and support.”
Registration to participate is open through March 6, 2020, until 5:00 p.m. Click here to learn more and to register.
by Rick Jones, Office of the General Assembly