Part I in a two-part series on mission opportunities for youth.

Youth at a diocesan PYM Day of Service.

Youth at a diocesan PYM Day of Service.

The Office of Mission and Outreach often receives questions about how youth can become involved in mission trips and what is available for them. We would like to answer those questions for everyone! Below is information about mission opportunities for youth (ages 12-18) within Virginia and the eastern United States:

Towel Ministry – Towel ministry is a youth oriented ministry of the Diocese of Western North Carolina that specializes in housing repair and refurbishment for the elderly and handicapped. Teams of youth and qualified adults spread the Good News of the Gospel by participating in work projects, such as building handicap access ramps, painting, roofing, weatherproofing and other housing repairs for the elderly and handicapped who need but cannot afford such repairs. During the summer, Towel Ministry offers week-long camps at Swansboro or Valle Crucis, N.C. A number of DOV churches, including St. James’, Leesburg and St. Mary’s, Arlington, have participated in this ministry for years.

Episcopal Appalachian Ministries – “The mission of Episcopal Appalachian Ministries is to inspire, nurture, and affirm those who address the environmental, cultural, and social needs of the people of Appalachia.” The core of the ministry provides opportunities and resources to those seeking to do mission work in the Appalachian region. Groups participate in home repairs for families living in poverty, feed the hungry or teach children how to improve their reading skills. There are a number of work camps throughout the Appalachia area:

Grace House – This house is a mission of the Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia located in Wise County, Va. It is dedicated to providing space and opportunity for spiritual reflection and immersion in the life and issues of Appalachia. This offers a great environment for developing community and engaging in acts of service. A number of DOV churches participate in service project at Grace House, including All Saints’, Richmond, St. Mark’s, Richmond and Trinity, Fredericksburg. If you have any questions, please contact Grace House at aboydgrchase@yahoo.com or grchase21@yahoo.com or by phone at (276) 395-6588

The Highland Education Project (HEP) – This project is located in McDowell County, West Virginia and is an ecumenical outreach ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia. Groups go every summer to repair homes for area residents who cannot afford to hire contractors. Those efforts not only make a major, tangible improvement in the life of someone in need, but also unite those as parishioners-missioners in a special bond of community. No skills or tools are required, only a giving spirit. A number of DOV churches participate in HEP including, St. Gabriel’s, Leesburg, St. James’s, Richmond, St. Paul’s, Alexandria and St. Peter’s in the Woods, Fairfax Station. For more information, please contact HEP at hep24801@yahoo.com

St. Timothy’s Outreach Center (STEOC) – This center is a ministry of congregations of the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington. It is located on 40 acres of land on Barnes Mountain adjacent to the Daniel Boone National Forest in eastern Kentucky. Work camps provide an opportunity for people to come to the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Kentucky and help with home repairs and improvements. Anything from replacing broken windows, replacing water lines, plumbing or building a wall to planting gardens is within the ministry at STEOC. DOV churches including St. James’s, Richmond serve at STEOC. For more information, contact Bryant Kibler at bkibler@diolex.org.

Appalachia Service Project – This project provides a structured service opportunity for youth ages 14-18 and their adult leaders. It takes much of the burden of logistics off of adult leaders and frees them to minister to the hearts and minds of their young people. While it is a building program, it is also a relationship ministry. Young people will interact and spend time with the family they’ve been assigned to serve. Appalachia Service Project has a number of locations in Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky and North Carolina. A number of DOV churches including St. John’s, Centreville, St. Bartholomew’s, Richmond, Emmanuel, Greenwood, and St. Thomas’, Richmond participate in this ministry. To learn more, contact cbailey@ASPhome.org.

Check out even more opportunities for Appalachian ministry.

Check back later this week for more ideas.

Posted by The Diocese

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