Twenty-three youth from five Southern New England UCC churches and their leaders gathered for a Youth Program at the Super Saturday event on October 5th ready to put their faith into action. As the Super Saturday participants arrived in Framingham, they brought with them donations of supplies for Church World Service hygiene kits — items such as washcloths, toothbrushes, soap, and Band-Aids — that will be distributed to victims of natural disasters.
Three large tables, as well as the space underneath them, were filled with dozens of bags and boxes of hygiene kit supplies. The youth sorted the items and prepared the tables for kit assembly. After the Super Saturday participants left their morning workshops to head to lunch, they were invited to stop by the tables to assemble a hygiene kit. The youth then boxed the kits to prepare them for shipping. One youth observed, “Some people went through the line several times to make multiple kits, and many dropped off checks.”
Rev. Debbie Clark, who brought three teens from Edwards Church in Framingham, MA, was impressed with the number of kit supplies donated by the Super Saturday attendees. “It was then even more amazing to see the youth transform it into an assembly line in (just) forty-five minutes…what a powerful expression of community caring.” Both teens and adults were enthusiastic about making a difference in the world with this service project.
During the afternoon, the teens had the opportunity to hear more about Church World Service. Adam Smedberg, New England’s Community & Congregational Engagement Specialist for Church World Service told the group that 22,000 hygiene kits were distributed after Hurricane Maria.
“We see images of devastation when natural disasters strike and sometimes feel helpless. Assembling a relief kit is a tangible, positive step for immediate relief,” commented Smedburg.
Ryan Gackenheimer, Executive Director of Silver Lake Conference Center told about opportunities to attend the outdoor ministry site in Sharon, CT. Information was also shared about the SNE trip to the United Church of Christ National Youth Event at Purdue University next summer on July 22-25.
The day concluded with an inspirational service of worship where the gathered body blessed the 275 hygiene kits and over $1,100 that was collected for Church World Service! Many thanks to all who donated items and assembled kits, as well as to Debbie Gline Allen, Debby Kirk, and Kristin Putney of the Southern New England conferences’ Discipleship Team, who coordinated and led this program.
The mission of Church World Service is “…to build a world where there is enough for all.” The youth of our conference put their faith into action as they led the way in making the world a little bit brighter for those in need.
Debbie Gline Allen is the part-time Christian Education & Youth Ministry Consultant for the Massachusetts Conference United Church of Christ.
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