Here’s a quick rundown of the first month of the Training Institute: U.K.:
- Katie Yarbro, Elizabeth Ogburn, and Merritt Denman are the first interns for the program, and they are all serving with One Church in Brighton, England.
- They hit the ground running and headed to Youth Camp, an off-site but nearby gathering of multiple congregations that gave the interns an early jump on meeting some One Church members.
- The host home for each of the girls has been incredible with hospitality and inclusion.
- One Church hosted its first of several CHOMP events, which are meal and activity provisions for the local community while kids are on holiday from school. The interns have mentioned that a noteworthy takeaway was how disarming it can be to simply sit down next to someone at a meal table. The volunteer servers do not stand back and keep to themselves, but rather they are expected to pull up a folding chair and sit with those whom they serve at the plastic pop-up table.
- The interns were put to work in a community garden. Reminds me I need to add “horticulture” in our recruiting brochure for next year.
- A significant moment of worship occurred at the Weekend Away event—it’s kind of like a corporate retreat for One Church—and Merritt said she ugly-cried out of how moved she was by the moment. The church members gathered in a circle around a table, and as they sang a song—one written by members of One Church—the church members were invited to step forward and share in communion, receiving it from the person in front of them and offering it to the person behind them.
- Elizabeth has admitted her addiction to coffee. Verdict is still out on her new addiction to tea.
- As part of their ministries on Florence Road, One Church has a reclamation food ministry that takes excess food from local eateries and turns the rubbish into remarkable plates of cuisine. Customers “pay as you feel,” making it an accessible outreach to alleviate the struggles of food poverty. Katie smiles.
- The interns are learning about the breadth of Christian worship as they encounter different denominational backgrounds and experience regular services with One Church. The “different than usual” flavor of worship has caused moments of reflection—Why do they do it this way? Why have I done it differently?—with a healthy dose of the uncomfortable.
- In a recent week, the interns traveled to the Oxford area to meet another ministry partner who serves in Bicester, England. Several interns from Greater Europe Mission (GEM) were gathering in Bicester with this ministry partner, so our team was able to hear about various ministry settings and again be exposed to numerous theological perspectives along the way. After a few days in the Oxford area, our interns traveled to London, where they did some sightseeing but also met with ministry partners. Part of this venture was exploratory for Harris Creek as we consider future internships, but it was also part of the immersive journey for the interns.
- In their travels, Merritt drives, Katie navigates, and Elizabeth drops the beats.
Many individuals signed up to pray for the cohort over the course of the summer, and in addition to these daily prayer prompts, I ask you to also pray for the following:
- As the weekly rhythms are developing, allow each intern to establish communication with God and moments of reflection
- Through prayerful reflection, ask the Spirit to strengthen each intern with the ability to remain present while also considering next steps for life back in Waco
- Pray for the relationships that have been developed with One Church and with Brighton locals, and pray for the glorious renown of God to be central
I wish all of you could sit in for the weekly FaceTime conversations I have with the interns so that you could hear firsthand about their experiences. The next best alternative is for you to follow their personal blogs. The quality of writing is superb, and you will get a glimpse of their holistic transformation through each of their raw reflections:
You may also be inspired to GIVE to the cause. Whether it is for final expenses this summer or for a nest egg in preparation of the next cohort, your financial contribution towards the ministries of Harris Creek perpetuates life transformation. Give today!