The Synod’s new Lutheran Youth Corps is sponsoring its first servant event Aug. 11-17 in Philadelphia. The seven-day mercy-and-service event will be based at Shepherd of the City Lutheran Church in the heart of that city.
Those interested in participating — confirmed young members of LCMS congregations who have completed their junior or senior year of high school — are asked to contact Renee Lorenz at email@example.com. Lorenz is with the LCMS Office of National Mission (ONM) — Youth Ministry.
The Rev. Stephen Cholak, who was the previous contact person for the event, has accepted a call to serve as assistant pastor and teacher at Messiah Lutheran Church and Academy in Keller, Texas.
Open to a limited number of participants, the servant event is cost-free — including all needed materials, room, board and incidentals. Travel scholarships are available at up to $300 per participant.
Those involved will be working with Philadelphia Lutheran Ministries, an LCMS Recognized Service Organization, and its member congregations, as they carry out works of mercy and service.
Cholak told Reporter that participants in the event “will be all over the city, not just in one neighborhood.” He added that they will be “centered on helping others, learning the faith and reaching out to the world with the Word of Christ.”
He said that the event’s schedule will include prayer times to “bookend” each day. And every morning will continue with two sessions of catechesis, which will involve discussion “about the theology of mercy and then the foundations of the Christian faith — what you do when you meet somebody in the neighborhood and you want to talk about your faith.”
After engaging in daily service projects, there will be opportunities to visit historical and other sites in Philadelphia.
This year’s event is being planned as a mini-version of yearlong simultaneous pilot service events that Lutheran Youth Corps is planning for Philadelphia and St. Louis in August 2015.
In St. Louis, the pilot service event will be centered at Emmaus Lutheran Church, an inner-city congregation established in 1894 that is reaching out to its community and slowly growing after a period of decline. And Shepherd of the City Lutheran Church also will be the base for the 2015 pilot event in Philadelphia.
Cholak added that the main difference between the 2014 and 2015 servant-opportunities schedules — apart from their durations — is next year’s addition of “day internships,” when event participants will be “paired with organizations that meet or match their interests.”
Lutheran Youth Corps is the Synod’s “answer to the growing trend of youth interested in entering long-term service [opportunities],” notes an article last fall in the Synod’s Lutherans Engage the World magazine for donors.
That article, available here, quotes the Rev. Bart Day, executive director of the ONM, as follows:
“ ‘It’s time to do again what we did originally years ago,’ said Day. ‘The LCMS used to be a part of the Prince of Peace Corps, the precursor to our GEO (Globally Engaged in Outreach) missionaries, which sent youth overseas for peace and mercy work. There is an ever-growing number of LCMS college students and young adults joining the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps. They say, “We would do it with the church, but there is nothing for us to do.” ’ ”
“Until now,” the article then states, before describing the new Lutheran Youth Corps.
Cholak told Reporter that there has been “tons of interest” in Lutheran Youth Corps — both from adults offering suggestions for it, as well as from those interested in participating.
To hear an interview about the first Youth Corps service events on Worldwide KFUO — with Cholak and the Rev. Rob Kieselowsky, director of Philadelphia Lutheran Ministries — click here.
For more information about Lutheran Youth Corps or the service events starting next year, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted July 2, 2014 / Updated July 21, 2014