In worship on Sunday, June 9, Alex Martens offered the following Minute for Mission. If you would like to contribute to the Pentecost Offering, you may do so here. Simply type “Pent Offering” in the Memo section.
This morning’s Pentecost Offering is dedicated to investing in our denomination’s ministries that focus on developing and supporting children, youth, and young adults, including the young adult volunteer program, the national youth ministry office, and ministries assisting children at risk. 60% of this morning’s offering will go to the PC(USA) and its work in these areas. The remaining 40% of the offering will go to an organization chosen by the DHPC Mission Team. This year that organization is Lost and Found Youth, which serves LGBTQ+ youth in Atlanta who struggle with homelessness. Lost and Found offers services such as emergency and transitional housing, clothing and nutrition assistance, as well as dental and health services – including mental health services. They also provide education assistance and referrals to other skills needed for resume writing and interview training.
Earlier this week as I was talking to my little sister about what I was thinking about saying for this morning’s minute for mission, she suggested talking about how we are all equal in the community. To which I replied, “the point is that we’re not.” While they likely only make up 10% of the overall population, LGBTQ+ youth make up more than 40% of the homeless youth population and that disparity continues to grow. Lost and Found youth strives to address and eradicating that imbalance.
Due to my friendship with two members of the LGBT community, both of whom are seminary graduates, I had the opportunity to join a Bible study for the LGBTQ community and their allies. Within this group, I was able to be with those seeking a church outside of the church, something they sought because the church had too often turned too many away. In this
group I heard stories that are not mine to share, but that I will never forget. For me growing up, the hate perpetuated by those such as members of Westboro Baptist Church seemed so far away, but what I have come to realize through my friends’ stories is that the hate, exclusion, and horror inflicted on so many in the LGBTQ community were not just sensationalist stories on Facebook. But rather, they are common occurrences that sexual minorities face with an appalling frequency.
It is certainly true that we as a country and as a denomination have made great gains in inclusion and equality, but we are not done by a long shot. There is a community of young people struggling with homelessness at a staggering rate. And we cannot turn away from them. Members of the LGBTQ+ community are 120% more likely to experience homelessness. That is why Lost and Found youth is so important. Because it addresses a need we sometimes forget is still there. So today I ask you to help support this vital organization that has guided so many but still has so many more to help. I will leave you with a quote from Shane, a young adult helped by Lost and Found: “At the age of 16, I had survived two religious conversion camps, four suicide attempts, and an exorcism just because I was gay…..I owe so much to this wonderful organization that gave me housing assistance, HIV medication help, and even the very breath I just took.”
Druid Hills Presbyterian has a long history of supporting the work of our denomination, as well as supporting members of the LGBTQ+ community. I hope you will continue your support by giving generously to this morning’s Pentecost Offering. To give by check, simply write “Pentecost Offering” on the memo line of your check or, if you are giving cash, on an offering envelope which can be found in your pews. Your gift can then be placed in the offering plate. You may also give online here. Thank you for your support.