It’s more a God-led pilgrimage of discovery, says youth director
(Republished with permission from the diocese of Fredericton eNews)
Twenty-one people from the diocese are going to Toronto in late April. They will spend the week with the poor and needy, do chores and help wherever they can, spreading the gospel and doing good works. But don’t call it a mission trip.
“We’re rebranding,” said Colin McDonald, director of youth & intergenerational ministries in the Diocese of Fredericton. “It’s not a mission trip. We’re going on a student pilgrimage. What we’re really doing is forming people — our own people. We’re expecting to get far more from the people we encounter than we’ll give.”
The group of nine leaders and 13 young people have been meeting, praying and studying the bible in preparation for the trip. They most recent meeting was held at Outflow Ministry, the same men’s shelter that now houses the Parish of Millidgeville after it left its north-end building last fall.
“We had a guy from Catapult share his testimony with us,” said Colin. “It just gave everyone a sense of what they’ll experience.”
Catapult Industry is a construction company owned by Outflow that gives people, some of whom have been homeless, work and experience in the trades. Last year Catapult won a heritage construction award from the City of Saint John. Catapult was launched with help from a donation from the Diocese of Fredericton.
Last April a smaller group went to Boston for a similar purpose, with impressive results. This year, “we opened it up across the diocese,” said Colin, noting the majority of those going have ties to Camp Medley.
“They are great individuals, young people we have a history with. This is part of the journey they’ve been on for years.”
The group will spend time at the Sanctuary Mission and will be mentored by its founder and pastor, Greg Paul. They also hope to visit and volunteer at Six Nations Indigenous community outside Toronto.
“We want some learning on indigenous issues,” said Colin.
There will be defined, structured volunteer work, but mostly the trip is about being with people, giving them acknowledgement, respect and a listening ear, an exercise they found most powerful in Boston.
“We will walk the city,” said Colin. “We will wait for God to connect us with those who need us.”
The leaders, besides Colin, include Colin’s assistant director, Allyson Caldwell; Jessie Gowan, Amy Hoyt, the Rev. Rob Salloum, Dylan Nicoll, the Rev. Dan McMullen, Maren McLean Persaud and the Rev. Christian Persaud. The young people include Joe Duplisea, Nat Fetter, TJ Trenzek -Jeall, Kyle McGraw, Carter Scott, Chelsea Hoyt, Emily Orr, Emma Colton, Dimitra Bountalas, Jessie Galbraith, Cameron Eagles and Katrina Zink.