We will have an opportunity to celebrate Ben Evans before he is finished with his Young Adult Volunteer year. (It won’t be this week, because he’s celebrating his sister’s wedding with his family in Florida, perhaps even as you read this.) But especially in a week when we’ve heard enough ugly words from one person to another, here are some good words!
Next week Ben, along with ministry fellow Julia Burkley, will accompany five of our youth to the Massanetta Springs Middle School Conference. It will be the culmination of a great year of monthly programs for this age group, Western’s first year in anyone’s recent memory of a lively youth program. If you have been at church on a Sunday when the group meets afterwards, you’ll notice the uptick in attendance for the 11-13 year old crowd. I’ve even noticed a few young people making it to worship without their parents on those Sundays!
After a Foggy Bottom scavenger hunt, an urban ministry weekend at the Pilgrimage in Dupont Circle, ice skating at the sculpture garden, making lunch for church neighbors at St. Mary’s Court and climbing the rock wall in Crystal City – among other opportunities – we have a core group of young people excited about getting together! With help from Kyle Coombs, Kathryn Urban and now Julia Burkley, Ben has been a catalyst for a great beginning. John Molina-Moore and I have been talking about how to build on this energy as we plan for confirmation this fall, building on the success of an after church meeting time.
Ben will be with us through the end of July. We don’t yet know what he will be doing this fall. Whatever God has in store, we give thanks for his good work, whether building relationships with guests in Miriam’s Kitchen or building community among our youth!
With gratitude for all of the ways God’s at work through Western,