All grown-ups were once children … but only a few of them remember it.
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

When was the last time you … lost your breath? When was the last time you … took a leap of faith? When was the last time you … let go of your worries? When was the last time you … put your whole self in?

God gives us the chance to experience joy every day … we just have to reach out and seize the opportunity. Jesus taught us with his words and actions that the trajectory of human evolution is to live in loving community and to serve God — and participating in that is a deeply rewarding and spiritual practice! Beginning today, we invite you to commit to supporting the Urban Mission Inn during the summer of 2016.

Over the course of the last seven years, the Urban Mission Inn has housed more than 2,300 guests who have provided nearly 50,000 hours of service in our community! The summer of 2016 will find the Urban Mission Inn hosting 14 youth groups — groups from as far away as Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and suburban Dallas, and as near as St. Charles and Canton, Missouri. Of the 14 groups scheduled to visit this summer, 13 of those groups will be coming from Disciples of Christ congregations.

Youth and adults who have visited the Urban Mission Inn leave having experienced something outside their day-to-day experiences in their home communities. Over and over again, our visitors share with us stories expressing how their Urban Mission Inn experience has brought their youth together … broadened their perspectives on life … challenged their comfort zones … empowered their youth … created opportunity to share sacred space. And we want you — members and friends of Union Avenue Christian Church — to experience some of the excitement and joy that comes from celebrating youth and serving Christ's church!

Two new activities for each of our groups this summer will be a Tuesday afternoon drum circle with Rose Fischer and her partner Boku. The groups will gather together to share songs, to play drums, to dance, and to share in the culturally rich expression of a Congolese worship experience. On Wednesday evening, we will be hosting a “dinner church” experience for each of the groups. We will gather at tables, share stories, share a meal, and conclude with communion.

So come on … take a leap of faith and put your whole self in! Life is a journey, friends, enjoy the ride. We need you and your support to make the summer of 2016 the very best year yet!