“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:36-39)
At the center of Christian life is service to others. We are called to share in God’s work by loving and serving all those in need, in this neighborhood and in the world.
There are service opportunities regularly. The next service opportunities are:
- Feeding Work During the Pandemic: Opportunities to volunteer on Wednesday evening, Thursday morning, and Saturday morning to help get groceries in the hands of hundreds of local families. Use this volunteer intake form and this volunteer shift form for more information and to get involved.
- Youth Mentoring Program: Every Thursday, 5:00pm-6:30pm. Work one-on-one with (very cute) 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students on math, reading, and physical fitness. Make a huge difference in the life of one of our neighborhood young people.
- Monthly Saturday Clean-Up Crew, Once a month (check the calendar page) 9am Share coffee & donuts, plus get busy outside in the alley, sidewalks, and gutters to make sure our church and our block are looking their best. A quick and satisfying way to get started on a Saturday.
- Little Free Library—Book Donations Please bring your books in to keep our library filled!
Service Trip to Puerto Rico--Returning in Summer 2021
A team of experienced leaders is working to bring together a group of adult and youth volunteers to head to Puerto Rico to help in the rebuilding effort following Hurricane Maria, and possibly also from the earthquake from January 2020. We will be working with Lutheran Disaster Response, a program of Lutheran Social Services in Puerto Rico (find out more here--http://www.sslpr.org/). This is part of the Building Puentes initiative, a collaborative effort of the Metro DC, Delaware Maryland, and Caribbean synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can find out more here (https://demdsynod.org/category/building-puentes/) and here (https://www.buildingpuentes.com/).
The hope is for half of the group to have solid construction experience, while half of the group should be physically capable of construction work and willing to learn from and assist others.
Volunteers in the past have ranged in age from 70 to 14 years old. We ask that our youngest volunteers be at least fourteen years old and have completed one year of high school.
Our confirmed dates are July 19th through August 8th. You may choose one week, two weeks, or three weeks. The flights out from BWI leave early on Sunday mornings; the flights back arrive to BWI on Saturday night (8:30pm-9pm).
We also have an additional week as a possibility, which we will use if registration seems close to filling up. That is the week of August 9th through August 15th.
Costs, relatively speaking, should be pretty low. The cost for one week is $700, for two weeks is $1000, and for three weeks is $1300. That includes flights, all meals except when we're eating out, housing, construction supplies, and rental vans. Probably estimate about $150 more in spending money, though some activities are optional and you might not need that much.
The registration deadline will be April 1st, with a deposit of $150. Second payments will be due on May 1st to allow plane tickets to be purchased (bringing the total per person to $400). Final payments will be due on July 1st.
We will be staying in the Lutheran camp in Maguayo, near Dorado, about 45 minutes west of San Juan. The camp has room for up to sixty volunteers at a time, but we are limiting each week to fifty volunteers so that we have a little room to breathe. Volunteers sleep in air-conditioned bunkrooms with twin-sized bunkbeds and communal showers--comfortable enough, but nothing fancy. The camp also includes a nice pool, a chapel, office and storage areas, and a main hall for dining/meeting/organizing/relaxing. It's a good home for groups like ours.
This is our third effort to bring volunteers to help rebuild alongside our neighbors in Puerto Rico. We took forty volunteers over two weeks in September of 2018. We took more than one hundred volunteers over two weeks in July of 2019 (we filled the camp for those two weeks). Our goal this time is to bring fifty volunteers per week, so, with people coming multiple weeks, perhaps 120 volunteers total.
The general pattern is to fly in on Sunday morning/afternoon, fly back on Saturday evening. Monday through Friday we work construction doing rebuilding in the morning and the afternoon, with time in the late afternoon/evening for the beach, the pool, getting clean, reflecting, and devotions. We take one half day for doing some cultural and environmental exploration on the island, including a visit to El Yunque, an amazing tropical rainforest. We also spend a half day exploring in Old San Juan. One night during the week we head out for an evening of dinner and salsa dancing (including a lesson).
Flights will be direct between BWI and San Juan. People coming from other parts of the country to join us are most welcome--either by arranging transportation to fly with us from BWI, or by deducting $400 from the trip payment and arranging your own flights to and from Puerto Rico from a convenient airport (trying to time your arrival and departure as close to that of the group as possible).
After filling out this registration form, you will be directed to a PayPal page for payment of your $150 deposit.
Thanks for your interest!
We are now accepting donations to help pay for our construction materials and to help defray the costs of travel for those who need assistance. Thank you for your generosity!