Appalachia Service Project

Many thanks for your prayers for and inquiries about Holy Family’s recent Appalachia Service Project (ASP).  Here’s a quick summary:

Holy Family took two teams of youth and adults to Watauga County, NC where we met up with 4 ASP staff and First UMC from Cary, NC.  We stayed in a local elementary school for the week and worked on houses in and around Boone. We were the 7th and final week of ASP, so came into and finished up projects that were already started.

ASP (70)

Holy Family’s first team worked on a project called You Lucky Dog, where we caulked painted the exterior of a large house, built some backdoor steps and retro fitted a Singer Sewing Machine into a patio table.  At this home, we met and got to know an older married couple.

Holy Family’s second team worked on a project called 13th Year, where we completed a ceiling installation, caulked a leaky tin roof, and extracted and replaced rot from a bathroom floor and walls.  At this home, we got to know a mother, two kids, and a grandmother.

(You can find our pictures here.)

We also spent a few evenings at the local Cook Out for milkshakes.

From the time we decided to try out ASP last January, there’s been a buzz about ASP.  And, the youth and adults who went were pretty jazzed about their experience.  Will we return again next year?  I imagine so.  In the weeks to come, our team will reunite for lunch and to discuss what we learned from this trip and if we will return.  It’s all part of our ongoing discussion of what it looks like for us to be Holy Family’s Episcopal Youth Community (EYC). If you’d like to be part of future ASP work or discussions, be in touch:

Youth Appalachia Service Project: Update

By Paul Cizek, Youth Minister

Since launching Holy Family’s first Appalachia Service Project this past January, much has happened.  Here’s the scoop:

  • For those who don’t know, Appalachia Service Projects (ASP) are week long mission trips for youth 14-18 years old in the Appalachian mountain region.  Teams of 5 youth and 2 adults do light construction projects to help make homes in the region warmer, safer, and drier for those in need.  ASP has been in operation for over 40 years.
  • 11 youth and 4 adults have joined the Holy Family crews, making up two work crews.  10 of us are members of Holy Family and the other 5 are friends of our youth.
  • Our week of ASP is July 21-27.  We will be working in Watauga, NC, just north of Boone, NC.  We will be staying at a local elementary school, eating in the cafeteria, and sleeping in classrooms.  Each work crew will work at one home in Watauga for the whole week.
  • We have begun and will continue our preparations for ASP on a few Sunday afternoons this summer.  During these times, we will get to know one another through games and activities, we’ll learn a little bit about the Appalachian region and Watauga, we’ll learn some basic carpentry skills to  get familiar with hammers, saws, tape measures, and chalk lines.  We’ll also eat together and clean-up together to nurture our bodies and our common life, and begin learning how to live together and work together.

Please keep us in your prayers as we explore this work with ASP in western North Carolina.  May we discover that Christ is already there among the poor when we arrive.

“Out of Egypt” VCS: Facing Pharaoh (June 24)

On Monday of VCS, we heard God promise Moses,

God promises Moses McConnells

“I will take you as my people, and I will be your God.  You shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has freed you from the burdens of the Egyptians…” (Ex. 6:7).   We saw that, “Moses told this to the Israelites; but they would not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and their cruel slavery” (Ex. 6:9).

Moses and Aaron confronted Pharaoh with a message from the LORD:

Moses, Aaron, Pharaoh (McConnells)

(They received some help from the Cobras…)


How did Pharaoh respond?

Alan McConnell Pharaoh

Pharaoh is one hard-hearted king.  “Make bricks!” he said.


Even after he saw Moses’ staff turn into a snake, his answer remained, “make bricks!” And so we did.



We also worked hard to fill the Pharaoh’s storehouses.




Race3We enjoyed a snack recalling Moses’ staff-turned-to-snake.

SnakeStaffSnackAnd we enjoyed one another.

SillyCobrasThanks be to God!