Mission Trip Opportunities 2016
Shaping a Church Culture of Engaged Action
How will the United Church of Christ be relevant in the 21st century? In what ways are we shaping the authenticity of this faith community of tomorrow by the faith and commitment we live today? In other words, how are we “Keeping it Real?”
The mission trip opportunities included in this booklet and listing give an entry point into these questions. In this complex world we are pulled in many directions by information overload, but may feel disconnected to roots or community that help us figure out how to utilize that information for the good of God’s world.
Mission trips can change all that. Participants in a group mission trip form community shaped by new, challenging, and joy-filled experiences that forge relationships that allow us to probe difficult questions and celebrate intense joys. The host sites in this list all are connected to their local communities in profound ways and also ready to help you enter into those communities where you will learn much about yourself and with others who have different life-experiences. These ‘hands-on’ experiences and deep community relationships give you an authenticity that makes the world pay attention in your continuing work on issues of God’s peace and justice.
What if every local church in the United Church of Christ made mission trips of service-learning, disaster -recovery or justice-immersion on-going parts of congregational life?
These experiences of community building and personal involvement alongside people working against poverty, racism, and environmental injustice would offer an authenticity that shapes the relevancy of the entire church. The Church not only talks about justice, but immerses itself in places and with people experiencing those exclusions. The Church not only talks about God’s love for the whole world, but lives it by walking alongside the most vulnerable. Practicing a church culture of engaged action takes place in the community across your street. It takes place in different places around the nation or world. Often we need to go away and get engaged to be able to see the path of our deeper engagement when we return home.
My prayer is that this list of “UCC Mission Trip Opportunities” will be a tool to help you go deep – to live authentically – to work for peace and justice. My prayer is that, together, we will shape a church culture of engaged action.
Mary Schaller Blaufuss, UCC national setting Team Leader
for One Great Hour of Sharing Ministries & UCC Volunteer Ministries