400 High School Students Explore ‘Justice for Poor’

Post a Comment » Written on April 8th, 2009     
Filed under: News
MINNEAPOLIS, MN (April 8, 2009) – More than 400 senior high school students from across the Northwest Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church gathered at First Covenant Church of Minneapolis over the weekend for Mission Outreach Venture Experience (MOVE 2009), which focused on “Justice for the Poor.”

During the weekend groups heard from speakers, participated in worship, and ministered in poverty-stricken communities. MOVE is an annual event designed to give students an urban learning and outreach experience.

MOVE band“This year we decided to incorporate some new elements into the event that were designed to teach the participants about some of the different aspects of poverty,” says Mike Bernard, a member of the planning committee. “Our desire was to give them just a glimpse of the issues with the hope that somewhere down the road they will build on that glimpse as their eyes are opened to poverty, injustice and brokenness in our world.”

MOVE 2009 began Friday night with worship, and students were divided into groups to minister in the community for much of Saturday. Students painted, cleaned, hauled trash, played with children and prepared and served meals.

“I think that the statistics and stories that were shared over the course of the weekend shocked my group out of their comfort zones,” says Kate Makosky, youth minister at First Covenant Church of Saint Paul. “Many shared that they hadn’t realized before just how many people are hurting and poor.”

MOVE crewWorking in the community clearly had an influence on the students’ future plans. “Across the board, my students have made comments expressing their desire to volunteer more, especially within our own community on the east side of Saint Paul,” Makosky says. Students also expressed a new understanding that “just giving money isn’t enough; relationships are needed too.”

“The service time at MOVE brought out a good discussion with our kids about the impact of the work they did,” says Mike Verdoorn a volunteer youth worker at First Covenant in Saint Paul.

His group spent the day cleaning a school. “One kid in our group really took pride in cleaning the walls of a classroom,” Verdoorn says. He wanted before and after photos to show off afterwards. It was great to see the kids connect with tasks that are mostly considered boring.”

Jamie McIntosh, executive director of International Justice Mission (IJM) in Canada, spoke at the event. IJM works to secure the human rights of victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other oppressions.

Dan Rodriquez, worship director of True Light Covenant Church, Minneapolis, led the weekend’s worship.

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