In about a month, four young adults from three different Saint Paul Area Synod congregations will be traveling to Iringa to participate in our inaugural Bega Kwa Bega 'Youth Seminar'. While there, they will spend two weeks with a dozen of their peers from across the diocese. Through presentations, discussions, excursions, and activities they will draw close - learning from one another about Lutheran identity, vocation, and the ways in which they are being called to re-form the communities and world that they call home. It promises to be an incredible experience for all involved.
As preparations are being made for these travelers to hit the road, I'm mindful that they do not travel alone. They come from communities that have, in some way, formed them. They will return, changed somehow, speaking of what they have seen and heard.
This past Sunday evening I joined people from Christ Lutheran on Capitol Hill at an open house thrown in honor of Craig Dokken - one of their members who will be leading our delegation. The evening was an opportunity to raise some funds, share some stories, and connect with one another. I was struck by the ways in which this community of faith was rallying around this young leader and how his travel is inspiring others to connect with this companion synod relationship in different ways.
Similar stories are playing out for our other young adult travelers as well. Leaders and members from Roseville Lutheran and Trinity in Stillwater have likewise been encouraging and supporting the representatives that they too are sending - each in their own way. All of this is to be celebrated.
Beyond the bounds of this upcoming trip, congregations in places like Maplewood and New Brighton are intentionally allocating resources and seeking opportunities to connect young adults here with their global companions in Iringa, Guatemala, and elsewhere. All of this is reflective of the accompaniment value of sustainability - understood best in terms that are not only financial but also relational. These are investments made not just in the individuals who travel but in the life that we have in common as they ensure that we will continue to walk with, and bear witness to, one another for many generations to come.
For all of this, let us give thanks,
The Rev. Peter Harrits, Director of Bega Kwa Bega and Assistant to the Bishop