Seven teens from Saint Stephen Lutheran Church, Marlborough, were among 250 youth from all over New England who came to Camp Calumet in Freedom, NH for the yearly Hammonasset Youth Gathering in September. Hammonasset is the annual get together of youth throughout the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
“I Choose Compassion” was the 2017 theme. A packed weekend included not only the Christian band Bread of Stone, Bible study, swimming, boating and field sports, but also a timely compassion-centered activity. Teens packaged 10,000 meals, targeted for Texas victims of Hurricane Harvey.
Those who attended from Saint Stephen included Samantha, Caitlyn, and Zachary Gogan of Hudson; Aline and Emma Keledjian of Marlborough; Abby and Sam Maston of Hudson; and their adult leaders, Sarah Maston and Pastor Joseph Graumann.
"Hammonasset was the perfect balance, “ said Abby Maston. “ It teaches us the way of God, and how to help our communities, but it was also a ton of fun, like listening to the band, Bread of Stone and getting to hang out with close friends."
Weekend chaplain and guest speaker was Stephanie Smith, full-time pastor for Cathedral in the Night, an outdoor Christian community in downtown Northampton, MA that. seeks to create a safe place for all people, she noted, including the homeless and the churchless. Pastor Smith discussed building community, and how compassion means we are all one in Christ, caring for each other. Saint Stephen youth will visit Cathedral in October to attend worship and serve dinner after the service, which takes place on and around the steps of First Churches in Northampton and typically ends with a community meal.