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Renovo Recap

    "Grace is ever-present."

During their recent spring break, a group of a dozen young people from the Diocese of Massachusetts spent a work week assisting at Trinity, Renovo, one of the more isolated congregations in our Diocese. Trinity's rector, the Rev. Dee Calhoun, played host to the group, and members of the Episcopal and Lutheran congregations she serves provided meals and hospitality.

The young people did some interior painting and renovation in the church and its related buildings, and they cleared and pruned a long-neglected garden in the church yard. While in Renovo, the teens got to know some of their local peers, and they visited a local hospital and nursing home to entertain the residents.

After returning to Boston, the group leader, the Rev. Kit Lonergan asked the teens to write some reflections about their time in Renovo. Their thoughts sum up the experience with remarkable clarity. Here are some excerpts: (you can read their complete reflections here)

After church, we went to see a view of Renovo and the surrounding mountains at a look off called Hyner view. Looking at the town of Renovo from above looks as though God placed it between mountains; it is an independent society in the middle of nowhere. It is amazing here and a lot of us didn’t believe that such beauty existed. Many of us described the mountains in front of a clear blue sky and shining sun as a backdrop and that it can’t be real.
--Mary Charlotte Buck (Christ Church, Andover)

When we were at the hospital, I sought out the only man in the room, and his name was Ira. It actually turns out that he was in World War II fighting in Africa. I'm not going to go into a history lesson but it was interesting to hear what he experienced. I love history and it was really nice to listen to a piece of history; I may call him. He was delighted to talk to me and I could tell how happy he was just to talk to someone. This experience was an eye opener for me and I really enjoyed talking to Ira.
--William Groves (Epiphany, Walpole)

God has brought me to this place in particular to help the Episcopal Church. He has also made me aware of another issue that has sunk below the surface in this town. Because of the low minority rate, the people here do not know what it means to be a racially diverse community. God has made me aware of places in the United States that I can help. I have recently been obsessed with traveling abroad to help others, but this mission trip has helped me realize that I don’t need to go far to make a big difference.
--William Zhang (Episcopal Boston Chinese Ministry)

What I will take from this experience is that I have made stronger bonds with those who took this same journey with me, I have met very interesting people and have become more open-minded to the differences in the world, It feels really good to help people because you end up learning more about yourself than you ever thought you would and the Holy Spirit just comes over you more powerful than ever when you are doing God’s work.
--Chelsea Corners (Christ Church, Plymouth)

When I first met some of the teenagers that live here in renovo I asked them about life here. The reason why I asked them this was because I just found it so weird that any one would want to live in place where there was no cellphone service and somewhere where it felt like I was isolated from the world. The answers that I got from all these kids was that they enjoyed living here and that cellphones were not even a big deal to them. After been here for almost a week now I have realized that its actually not that bad to live in such a place. This week I feel like have had more time to connect with myself and to pay more attention to others around me.
--Emely Ventura (Grace Church, Lawrence)

Where did I see God this week?

The easier question would be: Where did I not see God this week? I saw God in almost everything. I saw God in the people at the grocery store, in the church congregations of both the Episcopal and Lutheran Churches, at the nursing home and in the youth of Renovo. I also saw God in the mountains of Renovo, in the river, in the animals, in the sun and clouds and in the forest.

What was God telling me this week?

God was telling me to open my heart to those who live lives that are much different from me. I felt like Jesus was next to me the entire time showing me that here is where he would be, in this town helping those in the world that are easily forgotten. God was telling me to be a leader and stand up for love and faith in the eyes of those who have not yet experienced God’s love or faith. He was telling me to be confident in the person that I am so that I am able to make a difference no matter where I go and to always be loving and open-minded.
--Chelsea Corners (Christ Church, Plymouth)

Renovo is a town of little income, little prosperity, yet grace is ever-present. Here in Renovo, I have discovered grace in myself and in everyone around me. The people here have next to nothing, but they have each other, and in one another they find their joy. God has told me this week to relax, to smile, and to be myself again, and for this week and my surroundings I will ever be grateful.
--Mary Charlotte Buck (Christ Church, Andover)

 

 

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