Mission Year Speaks Up in Philly
Love God. Love People. Nothing else matters.
It was an overcast, yet beautiful spring evening in Philadelphia on Thursday, April 3rd, 2014, when I had the awesome opportunity, privilege and immense pleasure of being a part of Speak Up Philly. The benefit event celebrating the work of Mission Year’s efforts in Philadelphia was hosted at Circle of Hope in South Philly and sponsored in part by Eastern University. The night was filled with electrifying musical and poetic performances by local artists B-Wise, Atiba Halisi and Malia Walden. A full house of current Mission Year volunteers, alumni, and friends were inspired by speakers Rachel Sensenig, Nes Espinosa, Shane Claiborne and Shawn Casselberry with compelling messages about their passions to fight for social unity, racial reconciliation and most importantly, spreading the love of Jesus Christ through community support and development.
Ra Mendoza, the City Director for Mission Year Philadelphia led the charge in organizing the Speak Up Philly event. When I spoke with her about the event before the doors opened at Circle of Hope, she described herself as being “pumped”. She had every right to be as her excitement did not wane as the night progressed. The goal of Speak Up Philly was to help fund committed volunteers 100% throughout the remainder of the 2014 year. Currently, volunteers are funded at 62% through the end of July. Mission Year raised money for their volunteers through the sale of tickets, donations and even auctioning a painting created and inspired at the event. By the end of the night, Mission Year’s Executive Director Shawn Casselberry announced that Mission Year had raised $2,000 Thursday.
What is Mission Year?
Mission Year is a year long urban ministry program focused on Christian service and discipleship. Mission Year takes teams of people, place them in an area of need, and help them to serve people and create community. They are committed to the command of Jesus to “love God and love people,” by placing the needs of our neighbors first and developing committed disciples of Christ with a heart for the poor. Learn more about their first year program…
Before the event started, Mission Year alumni, partners and friends of the organization and speakers for the event were rallied together in a private room for dinner. It was an opportunity to sit and get to know each other. But for me, it was so much more. At Look Up Radio, our mission in a nutshell is to bring together segregated Christian communities through music. This mission covers the gambit of racial, social and economic divides. So, when Shawn Casselberry passionately spoke to us in that private room about Mission Year’s method to intentionally place diverse people together with the end goal of building the kingdom of God, I was blown away. Needless to say, there is a relationship that must be forged and fostered here. God willing, there will be a meaningful partnership that will arise from our connection through Speak Up Philly.
If you’re looking for a way to become a Mission Year volunteer, make a financial contribution or just simply learn more, visit their website at www.missionyear.org, and connect with them on Facebook.com/MissionYear.