Learning & Loving God in MCC Summer Service Program

by Ben White & Millie Penner, Mennonite Central Committee

Cesar Solis
Cesar Solis is serving at New Hope Alexandria through MCC East Coast’s Summer Service Worker program. Photo provided.

When asked what he was looking forward to as he began his Summer Service Worker term with MCC East Coast, Cesar Solis said, “I’m looking forward to learning . . . the best thing about being a Christian is you get to learn new things every day.”  A recent graduate of high school, Cesar is working to discern both what he will do and who he will be.  This young man is committed both to learning and to loving God.

Cesar will have plenty of opportunity to learn and love both God and God’s people this summer at New Hope Fellowship in Alexandria, Virginia. Working with a kids club and youth group is one part of his job, but he also has the opportunity to think with others about supporting another church in New Jersey through a significant transition. Cesar has a willing spirit and seems to thrive on taking risks. His pastor Kirk Hanger is working to give Cesar many opportunities to learn.  Cesar’s God-given enthusiasm will make his Summer Service term enjoyable. The grant from Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) East Coast Summer Service Worker program makes it possible.

The MCC East Coast Summer Service Worker program is a short term leadership development program for young adult people of color between the ages of 18-30. This Summer Service Worker program partners with churches and other organizations to provide leadership opportunities for young people.  The church or organization, along with MCC East Coast, work together to pay Summer Service workers for their efforts. Franconia Conference also contributed to Cesar Solis’ grant.

Summer Service Workers 2012
This year’s participants in MCC East Coast’s Summer Service Worker program. Photo provided.

In June, MCC East Coast and MCC Great Lakes Summer Service Workers participated in a week of orientation in Philadelphia, PA. Participants learned from largely urban speakers about MCC and what it means to be a young Christian leader of color. Summer Service Workers also form friendships among themselves during the orientation. These bonds of friendship and support are strengthened through regularly scheduled conference calls in which they share their joys and frustrations during their terms of service.

This summer there are eleven East Coast Summer Service Workers from New York City to Puerto Rico who are learning much about leadership and taking risks.

Please pray that East Coast Summer Service Workers see themselves as God sees them—gifted individuals with much to offer the world.

The MCC East Coast Summer Service progam considers new partnerships each year.  Interested churches or organizations should visit the website for further details.