This year, we set out to do things a little differently. Young people were directly involved with planning the trip. They picked the dates, cities, and focus for the trip. The end result was a unique (and somewhat eclectic) eight-day experience in West Virginia, Washington D.C., and Columbus, OH.
Saturday, July 10
- Drive from Des Moines, IA to Huntington, WV
- Stay at Bates Presbyterian Church
Sunday, July 11
- Worship at Bates
- Visit with Pastor Robin Blakeman about "Faith & Mountaintop Removal"
- Explore the foothills at Beech Fork State Park
Monday, July 12
- Service-learning experience with the Sludge Safety Project
- Visit homes near State Capitol and talk about SSP
- Experience supper at Practically Delish
- Stay at Rock Lake Presbyterian Church
Tuesday, July 13
- Work projects at Stanley Heirs Park on Kayford Mountain
- Visit with Larry Gibson
- Travel to Washington D.C.
- Stay at First Trinity Lutheran Church youth hostel
Wednesday, July 14
- Breakfast with Senator Tom Harkin
- Meet with Jodi Dieke - ELCA Advocacy
- Holocaust Museum
- Smithsonian Museums
- Outdoor Memorials (at night)
Thursday, July 15
- Meet with Senator Charles Grassley
- Meet with Rep. Leonard Boswell
- Native American Museum
- American History Museum
Friday, July 16
- Travel to Columbus, OH
- Stay at Jacob's Porch on Ohio St. campus
Saturday, July 17
- Return to Des Moines
Some of the themes that will be interwoven throughout our week include care for creation, wealth & poverty, immigration, church & state, religious patriotism, and the role of political advocacy among religious people. These are complex, loaded issues for young people to be wrestling with. The 2,500+ miles we spend in the van will, likely, be blessed by conversations about these, and other, topics.
Additionally, there is a daily emphasis on spiritual practices and living in Christian community. We will plan, cook, and buy meals together. We will care for each other by listening, sharing, and praying as a group. We will take time for individual Bible study, prayer, journaling, and meditating at the close of each day.
I have high hopes (which are different than expectations) for how God will work in and through us this week. There will be regular posts on koinonia written by our group members. I hope you will join our journey by reading what happens each day.