Before coming to work at LWR as Congregational Resources Specialist most of my exposure to LWR was through my work as director of Theological Education with Youth for Gettysburg and Philadelphia Seminaries. This is a program that creates opportunities for high school youth to dive deeply into theology. Often we’d bring youth down to the LWR’s headquarters in Baltimore to see what LWR is all about and ask what it is about our Lutheran faith that calls us to this sort of work. We learned about all of the great work being done here in the name of Lutheran faith; a couple of the youth began referring to the Lutheran Center as the “Lutheran Hall of Justice” (like the place where Batman, Superman, and the rest of the Justice League meet)!
To be able to walk alongside these young leaders as they encountered what their Lutheran church is doing through LWR was an awesome experience. They would come away from the experience excited to learn that their church was engaged so deeply internationally in ways they hadn’t even imagined. I saw many young people walk away with a renewed sense of love for the church they are a part of; they were more aware of ways LWR is working to be God’s hands in the midst of a broken world. Most exciting of all was the fact that they came back from their experience with LWR with tools, resources, and ideas for ways to engage their own congregations in work for the sake of the world.
One of the last events I was involved in with Theological Education with Youth brought a group of high school youth together with seminarians for a day of worship, service, and theological discovery. One of the seminarians organized an opportunity for us to learn about, and assemble Personal Care Kits for, LWR. These youth and seminarians were only together for a brief amount of time, but before we even started the day with worship we had already assembled 50 kits. We were diving into our Christian vocations together and sharing the joy of that day with others throughout the world.
Now that I am working with LWR I’m excited to be a part of more of those moments; those moments where we accompany both young and old alike in their walk of discipleship as they discover new and exciting ways to be a part of the lasting promise of our risen and living Lord. It’s not just the young that want to see their church engaged internationally, but all of us as we continue to be formed into the presence of the Body of Christ in the midst of the world!