Mission trip is a chance for diocese’s young leaders to grow
By Gisele McKnight
A mission trip to Boston requires a lot of preparation — travel, accommodations, fundraising and scheduling to name a few.
But spiritual preparation has been on Colin McDonald’s mind. While most of the 14-member team know each other, they’ve met, both in person and via Skype, to read, study and pray together.
“We’ve been focusing on Isaiah to prepare,” said the director of youth and intergenerational ministries. “To answer the question, ‘why do we serve?’ If we are people who claim to follow Christ, we have to act in a similar fashion to him. Jesus quoted Isaiah a lot — feed the hungry, clothe the naked.”
The team has also adopted Lectio Divina, the ancient practice of reading small passages of scripture repeatedly while asking the Holy Spirit to reveal their meaning.
“We’ve done this separately and together,” said Colin. “This is really simple but very powerful and a great inspiration, great prayerful reflection.
“We want these scriptures — these words of Isaiah — to echo in our ears as we walk through the streets of Boston, to know this is who Isaiah was talking about,” said Colin.
The group will use the services of the highly recommended Centre for Student Missions, which provides accommodations and meals as well as directs them to the projects and ministries in need of volunteers. That’s one of the reasons the group chose Boston. It’s also close enough to easily access by mini-van.
Colin; Dan McMullen, missioner / deacon in the Kennebecasis Valley area and in the Parish of Upper Kennebecasis; and Jessica Gowan, children and youth ministry coordinator at St. Paul’s in Hampton will act as leaders for 11 students aged 17-22, from the diocese. They include Kara Gallant, Jon Gould, Emma Coulton, Dimitra Bountalas, Colton Scott, Dylan Nicoll, Katrina Zinck, Chandler Scott, Nat Fetter, Kyle McGraw and Gabe Gionet. They will leave New Brunswick April 30 and return May 5.
Colton Scott, 19, Dylan Nicoll, 22, and Nat Fetter, 18, are excited about the trip, and looking forward to what they see as the focus of the mission: people.
“I want to contribute to the community outside my own and make connections with people,” said Colton, a computer science student at the University of New Brunswick and a Hampton native. “Everyone has an interesting story to tell.”
Colton is also looking for a wider world view beyond Hampton, or Fredericton, where he attends classes.
“I want some insight into what goes on within the inner city — soup kitchens, youth programs. I want the exposure,” he said.
Dylan has already been to Roatán, Honduras twice to volunteer with Kara and Nelson Mejia and he’s anticipating meeting lots of new people.
“My favourite part has been building relationships within the community,” he said. “It’s the human contact.”
This is all new for Nat, who has never been to Boston.
“I’m going for the experience. I’d like to get experience doing mission work, see how it works,” he said. “I also want to grow my faith, both with the people I’m going with and the people I’ll meet there.”
All three are Camp Medley staff alumni.
A mission trip to Boston is a new endeavour for youth under Colin’s leadership, but he hopes this is the first of many.
“This year is a pilot, meant to be part of a strategy to run every year,” he said. “I’m entering my fourth year with the diocese, and as I look around, I realize we need to invest in leadership with youth.
“I want people to know this is an investment in young leaders, in line with the Bishop’s Charge,” he said. “This is an incredibly capable, dynamic group of young people anxious to see what they’ll be able to create in God’s kingdom.”
Fundraising for the trip has been ongoing, and while parishes have responded to Colin’s letter asking for support, there is still more to do. The first of two spaghetti suppers will be held tonight, Feb. 21, at St. John the Evangelist Church, 75 Main St. in Fredericton. The supper runs from 4:30-7 p.m.
The second spaghetti supper will be held Tuesday, March 21 at St. Paul’s in Hampton from 4:30-7 p.m.
If you cannot attend but still wish to support the mission financially, you can visit the diocesan website ( anglican.nb.ca/giving ), or call the Synod Office at 459-1801, ext. 221.
“I’m asking people to hold up these young people in prayer in the coming months, for the mission and the travel,” said Colin. “We see this as a real investment in raising up young disciples who will lead the church into the future.”