The “Hands & Feet” initiative—a service/learning program inspired by Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly Stated Clerk J. Herbert Nelson, II—has announced expanded opportunities for groups from across the denomination to come to St. Louis during next summer’s 223rd General Assembly (2018), June 16–23.
First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood, Missouri, has offered to host Presbyterian groups who want to participate in the Hands & Feet effort during the assembly. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has partnered with Hands & Feet to work with interested groups and the church to confirm lodging.
“Hands & Feet is a new initiative to highlight and strengthen local and national efforts by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to facilitate change and communicate God’s love,” says Andrew Yeager-Buckley, the initiative’s coordinator in the Office of the General Assembly.
Hands & Feet builds upon the grassroots, community work that congregations, mid councils, and national PC(USA) agencies are already doing within the Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy and dovetails with next summer’s biennial General Assembly gathering.
During the week, participating groups will engage in a variety of service learning opportunities and attend several General Assembly events such as opening worship, the Moderator election, and the exhibit hall.
“This is the perfect opportunity for youth or intergenerational groups to serve and learn about ministry in St. Louis and experience the General Assembly,” Yeager-Buckley says. “Then we hope they will pray and reflect about how they might be a part of this kind of work in their own communities once they return home.”
Two ministries based in St. Louis-area Presbyterian congregations have agreed to help facilitate service-learning experiences for groups interested in participating in the Hands and Feet initiative:
- AMEN|Saint Louis is a ministry of Oak Hill Presbyterian Church located in the Tower Grove South Neighborhood of St. Louis. Groups will learn about how poverty, homelessness, systematic racism, and many other issues are impacting the city. And they will get dirty hands and tired feet working with partner agencies who are addressing these issues directly.
- STL Urban Missions is a ministry of First Presbyterian Church of Ferguson, Missouri. Its program is a mission camp experience in the St. Louis area and is designed to provide a variety of work experiences in soup kitchens, homeless shelters, youth programs, and housing rehab. The St. Louis Urban Mission Camp also enhances spiritual life through Christian service.
For more information about each ministry visit https://handsandfeet.pcusa.org/opportunities/.
“This work of Hands & Feet is to help us become more cognizant that mission is not just outside of the country and overseas,” says Nelson. “Mission is within our own neighborhoods, and we must get connected, as a church, to those communities in which we live as well.”
Plans are already underway to extend the Hands & Feet initiative beyond St. Louis to Baltimore, Maryland, and Columbus, Ohio—the sites of the 224th and 225th General Assemblies (2020 and 2022).
For more information about Hands and Feet and to inquire about space in this program, contact Andrew Yeager-Buckley by email at Andrew.Yeager-Buckley@pcusa.org or by phone at either 1-888-728-7228, x5419 or 502-569-5419.