One of the most exciting parts of working with young people is walking alongside as they mark milestones in their life. In church we celebrate the many gifts children bring to our community—joy, energy, passion, and even noise. What a blessing to celebrate with children as they mark their first communion, learn to acolyte, and step into leadership roles in both worship and our community, especially the last few months as they have offered their energy, strength, and speed cleaning up after each community meal.
Their spirit and joy, in both the momentous and mundane moments, gives me so much life, as has the youth advocacy movement we are witnessing in our country right now.
This month, joining thousands of students across the ELCA as we prepare to journey to Houston, the Sr. High students are “Gathering for Advocacy”. The ELCA has a strong tradition of advocacy, and this month we lift up the ELCA’s initiative called AMMPARO. AMMPARO seeks to accompany children who are “forced to flee their communities because of complex and interrelated reasons, including chronic violence, poverty, environmental displacement, and lack of opportunities…As brothers and sisters in Christ, the ELCA is called to bear witness to the conditions affecting so many communities and find solutions that will acknowledge the humanity in all of God’s children..”
We invite you to learn more at elca.org/Resources/AMMPARO, and join us as we pray:
Blessed are you, Lord Jesus Christ. You crossed every border between divinity and humanity to make your home with us. Help us welcome you in newcomers, migrants and refugees. Blessed are you, God of all nations. You bless our land richly with goods of creation and with people made in your image. Help us be good stewards and peacemakers, who live as your children. Blessed are you, Holy Spirit. You work in the hearts of all to bring about harmony and goodwill. Strengthen us to welcome those from other lands, cultures and religions that we may live in human solidarity and in hope.
God of all people, grant us vision to see your presence in our midst, especially in our immigrant sisters and brothers. Give us courage to open the door to our neighbors and grace to build a society of justice. “Gathering for Advocacy” from Getting Reading: A Youth Ministry Curriculum for the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering)
Meagan Esterby, Director of Youth and Family Ministry
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