Youth Group Serves (and Enjoys) New York

Members of the youth group are spending April vacation in New York City, working with Experience Mission and staying at the Salvation Army Temple in Harlem. They began their trip with a Palm Sunday blessing from Christ Church Rector Nick Morris-Kliment and members of the 8:15 congregation, then traveled to New York by train and to Harlem by subway.

Team members are Lila Carr, Sarah Jensen, Cole Lysaght, Katie Lysaght, Brian Melvin, Rev. Scottie Miller, Matt Moylan and Mike Niden.

On Wednesday, the service team worked at the Manhattan Citadel, the Salvation Army’s main headquarters.  They experienced a different part of Harlem.

The team spent part of the morning helping to assemble Easter baskets.  At lunchtime, they were invited to get out of their comfort zone. After giving out sandwiches to folks in the neighborhood, they joined a Prayer Station on the street, with music and people standing by to offer prayer to people in the neighborhood who asked.  Mostly, our kids wore the bright red vests and engaged people in conversation. They finished with a walk through the neighborhood, which, to their surprise, their Salvation Army host told them was a prayer walk. They walked to various stops (where drugs are sold, a park where people shoot up, a place where the sex trade happens) and offered prayer for healing and hope.

The Salvation Army is building a large new building in the neighborhood which will offer assisted living housing to community elders, and the Youth Group visited that site and offered prayers of blessing.  After work, they took the subway to Central Park and had a picnic with New York style pizza.  They finished the day with a sunset ride on the Staten Island Ferry, where they could view the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

On Thursday, the group worked in the Bronx, then visited some “touristy” sites. The finished the evening at Maundy Thursday services at Grace Church, where a team member, Lila Carr, was baptized and sang in the children’s choir.

During their stay, Youth Group members working in the food pantry helped 134 visitors, distributing enough food for 3,321 meals!

They head home to Needham on Good Friday.