"Christ has no hands but your hands: Lord Jesus Christ, bless these hands to reach, help, heal and build, this week & always. Amen"
Over 130 hands did indeed reach, heal, help and build in the Appalachian community of Dungannon, Virginia the week of July 27th through August 3rd. Beginning with our Commissioning Eucharist and Blessing of the Hands on Friday night, a rainy trip southward and a foot-stomping good time at the Carter Family Fold Music Center, our mission week took on wonder, depth and joy.
Many work sites afforded opportunities to build, paint, cool-seal, visit with families and mend not just structures, but hope and hearts, too. At the end of some days, milkshakes or a visit to the Mill's Creek watering hole kept us going.
Evening reflection on our Baptismal Covenant as call to ministry was rich and filled with wisdom and laughter. Leaving was harder than usual, but our glimpse of The Kingdom will continue to form and inform us all this coming year.
Great thanks to our Leader, Scott Newman, who faithfully works all year organizing this trip on behalf of Region 5, to this Year's Chaplains, The Rev. Laura Cochran and The Rev. Deacon Mary Beth Emerson, to our Adult Leaders, to our returning College-Aged Leaders, to Travis, Jeannie and Dorothy of the Dungannon Development Corporation, to all the families who welcomed us into their homes and especially to our Young Missioners, who teach us so much.
A few paraphrased, overheard gems from our Dungannon Mission Week:
"We may not be able to define 'Justice,' but in our Covenant, it all comes down to this: We will keep striving, with God's help."
On being offered a first taste of that Southern delicacy, a Fried Pickle: "I don't like pickles. They're cucumbers soaked in evil."
"I am the Cool-Seal Queen!"
And -- spoken and shared lots over the course of the week: "I love you!" God Bless you!"