Congratulations to the Youth Group on their wonderful brunch this Sunday! The pancakes were delicious, the prizes were fun, and the chocolate fountain was very popular with the nursery crowd (see below for photographic evidence). We hit our fundraising goal of $2,000 almost exactly (just $10 over!) and were delighted with the turnout for this fun event.
When the youth announced, in Celebration, that the Mission Trip was going to Hollywood this year, there was a ripple of laughter, so I thought I’d explain more. Hollywood is indeed famous for its glitz and glamor, actors and screenwriters (the very opposite of the “need” we usually identify for a mission-target neighborhood), but there’s a lot more to the neighborhood. I’ve heard it described like an old Western town – well painted false fronts on the buildings, and behind them, something quite different. There’s a large homeless population in Hollywood, poverty all around, and lots of community needs which enthusiastic volunteers like our youth can help to fill. We will be partnering with an agency that will send us to soup kitchens, food pantries, church programs and more, and we also plan to visit the Los Angeles LGBT center and volunteer there. In all that we do, we’ll be trying to look behind the false fronts and unmask the illusions that surround us. We’ll be trying to pay attention to the people who seldom appear on the silver screen – people who may be poor, or homeless, perhaps undocumented or discriminated against. Between the DOOR network (our partner program) and the Hollywood Presbyterian Church (our host), we know we will have a lot of people to meet.
Taking a mission trip to a place like this can help us to do some important integration work. Our church has decided to alternate between sending our youth far away (Memphis and Chicago, for example) to do cultural exchange, and keeping them close by, where they can integrate their learnings. At the same time as we hope to be very helpful to the agencies that need volunteer labor, we know that another target of the mission trip is within our own hearts — that we go on these trips to have our eyes opened, our hearts touched, and our inspiration sharpened. I have great hopes for the youth this year, and I thank you for your generous support at the brunch!
And finally, a BIG thanks to our adult leaders: Leslie Louie, Suzanne Jones, Debbie Fallehy, Diane Bessette, Keith Geckeler, Courtney Blair, and Jim Allardice.
Pictures are below.