The Synod of the Trinity awarded a Peacemaking Grant to Ivyland Presbyterian Church in the Presbytery of Philadelphia to assist it in its “Operation Ivyland Mission.” What follows is a description of the mission written by Pastor Amy Na. For more information on the Synod’s Peacemaking Grants, click here.
The pandemic of 2020 with the social and political upheavals of the same year have placed amazing challenges on churches and relationships of all kinds. Our efforts to proclaim Christ in a broken world were limited in many ways. Unwilling to miss an opportunity for youth, many of whom missed so much last year and eager to engage in community service and to offer help to others beyond our church walls, I created a mission project for our time.
The goals are many. We seek to restore relationships between youth and between the youth and the church. Without regard for political leaning or society’s boxes, we invite all youth to help people in need from all walks of life including runaway youth, abused women and formerly incarcerated men and women, among others. And in a year of challenging economics for individuals and businesses, we will work for free, covering expenses when possible and make the world a better place by touching a few mission sites in our local area.
“Operation Ivyland Mission” is a new project introduced this year to our Ivyland Presbyterian Church congregation. We are inviting junior high, senior high and college-age students to participate in a hometown mission experience. We contacted several of the local missions that our deacons sponsor and asked if we could donate a day of work to them. Five missions were targeted for a week of work in June.
We are planning to work for one day at each mission. We hope that our efforts will help these missions offset costs of hiring professional services to complete the tasks that we will do. Additionally, we are planning to share daily devotions hoping that our time together will build up our fellowship.
We did some office cleaning at Life Abundant and Liberty Ministries. We painted a room at A Woman’s Place. We did some mulching and outdoor lawn care at the Valley Youth House, and we packed 50 lunches and went on our own to the needy people under the subway to give them lunch.
Our work together and with others is an exercise in giving and sharing of time and resources so that the mission sites may continue to serve the needs of children at risk in our community, abused women and children in need of housing, help formerly incarcerated men and women seeking to re-enter society and feed the hungry in Philadelphia.
What follows are reactions from a few people who took part in the mission project:
From Cara (14 years old): “I learned that the kids that have no family still go to the same school as us and stuff. I now also know how to paint a wall better.”
From Krista (adult): “What I will remember most about this week is that I am blessed. My life is easy. I pray that God will be with all the people we encountered this week.”
From Laura (22): “I find that I am deeply impacted from the interactions like the ones we had in Kensington. We drove by people who are homeless, IV drug users and asleep under the subway. These images of people, fellow human beings, stay with me long after the experience. It was my privilege to help.”