With the theme of being Christ's hands alive in the world today, two of St. Paul's high school youth and one adult leader joined the Diocesan Youth Mission Trip (YMT) to the Seattle neighborhood of Ballard from July 30-August 6, 2016. Youth Hannah Helm-Duell and Abiane Stroebel and team leader Ray Phipps were part of a group of 19 to volunteer in urban ministries responding to the needs of homeless and hungry people.
The YMT team was hosted by St. Luke's Episcopal Church which for 27 years has operated "Edible Hope", a meal ministry that provides free breakfast to anyone in need. The week was full of service activities that included assisting and serving breakfast, fellowship with "houseless" residents, as they are referred to at St. Luke's, and kitchen cleanup.
Other activities included landscape projects, repackaging food at a major food bank, children's ministries, pruning and cleaning an outside labyrinth, major reorganization of a food freezer room, work in clothing distribution and painting projects. The youth were also introduced to the Urban Rest Stop, a laundry and shower program for people living on the streets which was the site of one of the three showers the group had all week.
There was also time to explore the Seattle area with visits to the Space Needle, Ballard Locks, a ferry ride and a tour of the Seattle Underground. At the end of each day there was time for reflection and worship before bedtime. The youth did amazing work and learned much about what it means to "Seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbors as ourselves" and to share in Christian and community service.
The adults who accompanied the youth came away with great confidence in the future of our Church, as demonstrated by the spirit of love and service shown by this group of future leaders.