COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Mennonite Mission Network) – This fall, Service Adventure participants will have a new location for service, community and maybe even skiing.
In September 2010, Beth-El Mennonite Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., will open its doors to volunteers from Mennonite Mission Network’s Service Adventure program. Colorado Springs will be the newest of six Service Adventure units located in cities around the United States, including Albany, Ore., Albuquerque, N.M., Anchorage, Alaska, Johnstown, Pa., Philippi, W.Va., and Raleigh, N.C.
Located at the base of Pike’s Peak, Colorado Springs offers many opportunities for outdoor activity and ministry. The city is home to five large military bases.
“We as Mennonites have the opportunity here in Colorado Springs to be a bit of a counter-balance and to express a different kind of understanding of what it means to be Christian,” said Merv Birky, pastor of Beth-El.
Partnering with Service Adventure is one of the ways the congregation is reaching out to their community. They also participate in a ministry to homeless city residents and many church members work with local non-profit organizations.
“Our desire to host a unit is two-fold. First, we realize that having people partnering with our church to serve the community puts feet to our beliefs, but we also realize how young adults can be impacted in huge ways when they give time and service away from home,” said Paula Brunk Kuhns, a member of the Beth-El committee providing leadership to organize the new unit.
The congregation is looking forward to walking alongside young adults as they learn and develop new leadership skills and gifts.
“In some ways, we will be helping young adults build a foundation and chart a course, and the fact that they’re doing that in the context of Christian service is really important,” said Birky.
When the proposal from Beth-El Mennonite Church came through, Director Susan Nisly was excited about the possibility.
“Service Adventure desires to partner with missional congregations who are active in their local communities. I was impressed with the mission of Beth-El. There was a sense that they had been focusing on missional work already, and still wanted to continue to find ways to minister to the community,” said Nisly.
For 20 years, Service Adventure has invited young adults to spend a year serving and learning in intentional community at units throughout the country. Each year, participants are encouraged to take time to examine what God wants from their lives through work at a placement, connections with a local church community and interactions with fellow participants and unit leaders