APA students, alums make mission trip to Madison County

APA students, alums make mission trip to Madison County

Photo courtesy Glory Ridge

Four Arendell Parrott Academy students and two alumni joined a recent St. Mary’s Episcopal Church summer mission trip to a Madison County mountain community.  Departing from the Rountree Street church early on Sunday, July 28, the group of 16 young people and nine chaperones spent six days at Glory Ridge camp and retreat, going out daily to local work sites.

This is the eighth year St. Mary’s representatives have made the trip.

APA students Brandon Zoltek, Chloe Albritton, Anna Haddad and Everette Haddad, along with alums Ava Haddad and Sydney Vick rebuilt decks, stripped out and replaced insulation underneath trailer homes, trucked construction debris to a landfill and repaired or replaced plumbing. Their work assignments were coordinated by a community coalition that accepted applications for assistance from mountain residents.

After work sessions, the young volunteers enjoyed white water rafting, cooling off in the French Broad River, sipping milkshakes at a local coffee shop and participating in a talent show.

“Everyone participates in the talent show,” Albritton, a sophomore, said. “We have people singing, doing funny skits, making up dances to songs, or showing a trick they know. One of the acts this year was showing how to fold a fitted sheet.”

 Worship and reflection time was also a part of each evening.

Students working on Glory Ridge

“They have a saying here at Glory Ridge: Offline and on God’s Time,” chaperone Audra Haddad said. “Our young people don’t use their cell phones, computers or other electronic devices. Instead, they connect with each other and form meaningful relationships with the folks they are helping.

“And this is such a beautiful place. It’s inspiring”  

Reflecting on the annual mission trip, Rev. Tom Warren of St. Mary’s cited the concept of making work a form of worship.

“Loving God and loving our neighbors as ourselves is at the heart of why we go to Glory Ridge,” he said. “This ministry also offers our church family the priceless opportunity to share extended time in community with one another that simply isn't possible during our usual weekly rhythms of life together.”

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