– Misael Fajardo-Perez
I am privileged to be part of the commissioning service for the ELCA Youth Gathering volunteers for the second time in a row. Nearly 800 volunteers are gathering in Houston a few days before they engage with over 30,000 youth and their leaders coming from various corners of our country and from our global church partners.
I will serve as one of the chaplains for the nearly 800 volunteers during the Gathering. Chaplains will share worship responsibilities for the commissioning service for volunteers and will be accompanied by ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Easton and Bishop Michael Rinehart of the Gulf Coast Synod. Musician Rachel Kurtz will lead us in music, and at the end of the service, volunteers will be sent to the Gathering with words of blessings and affirmation.
One of the most powerful moments in this service is will begin at the baptismal font. It is at the font where we remember our common identity, which holds us together as a community of faith. The most meaningful moment to which I am looking forward is when various items from each corner of the space will be brought forth to the center of the room to be connected together to create a base for the baptismal bowl. This imagery is so meaningful for me because it acknowledges the various journeys that come together as they have for generations to receive the one Spirit poured out at Pentecost, upon the Gentiles, and now upon us.
It is the one Spirit that connects us to each other, becoming equal recipients, crafted by this same God of Love.
Thanks be to God for the continued work of transformation by the Spirit, who continues to call all people from all corners of our world to the divine purpose of sharing love. God be with all of our volunteers.