The first 6 weeks of SoCo 2021
It’s been 6 weeks of the SoCo Beach Project already, can you believe it? Because we can’t. It's hard to believe that we even made it here, in Port Dover, amidst a pandemic. God had plans and still has more in store for this group of young adults, the community of Port Dover, and Immanuel CRC. Back on May 9th, 7 SoCo participants arrived in Port Dover and moved into two cottages. We would then spend the next 6 weeks getting to know each other, starting at our full time jobs, joining in bible studies, discussing what the summer means to us, and exploring the community. When Willemina pitched the project and how great living on the beach would be, she was not wrong. Our cottages overlook the water and the breeze is wonderful for keeping us cool.
As a group, we have also been asking the question :
what is the South Coast Beach Project?
I bring this up because I am sure you've been asking the same thing. As it says on the home page : The South Coast Beach Project is a 4 month spring/summer discipleship and community living experience for young adults. Participants will engage in intentional Christian living with bible study and discussions while engaging with the community through full time work.
And I think this does explain the foundations of the SoCo project, but what we wanted to discuss as a group is : what do we actually do? Are we here to simply take in good information or are we here to serve and to be out on the streets sharing the news and do we need to figure out exactly what we are going to do with our life? Taking a step back and seeing ourselves as children of God who need to work our own relationship with Him and others is important before we even think about the rest of our lives. I think as young adults, we get lost in the pressures to find ourself, find a partner, find the perfect job and get started on life as soon as possible. But what I feel that we are learning here, is to take the time to hear closely from God and the people around us before we disappear into the many plans we think the world has in store for us. Our story is actually God's story and we should never want to put that part of our lives down.
For me personally, what has made the SoCo and Port Dover experience so meaningful is that this summer is real life. It’s not a camp that I leave in a week or a conference that I get for a weekend and don’t know what to take back into normal life. This summer, I get to intentionally spend time in deep discussions and study about God and Christianity but I also get to see the Spirit working in our every day encounters with each other and the people we work with and meet.
As a group, we began watching the video series : Reframe. Reframe is a multiple session course that focuses on connecting your faith and vocation. It takes the story of Scripture and explores how the gospel reframes all of life, not just our church life. We don’t just watch the stories of business people and farmers bringing their faith to their work in the video, we get to put it into practise in our own workplaces each day. On separate nights, we’ve been going through a Spiritual Formations books and learning about the different spiritual practise traditions. Each week we’ve been challenged to learn about and participate in one of the spiritual practises. This has been a great opportunity to take the time to try out many different practises and learn more about ourselves and God through the process. And through the busyness of life, we don’t always follow through, but this lets us be vulnerable and lean on the people around us for encouragement and accountability.
This past week, we got to experience our first guest speaker : Jon Berends. In multiple sessions, Jon will be talking to us about : A Theology of Place. It’s a joy to see more of the summer plans come into place and get to learn and grow with the various speakers and each other through discussion.
And after all of this, we are tired. There is no doubt about that, but what is different about this summer is that we are tired because we have been given so much life through God, through your prayers, through the community's love. The pandemic has been a difficult year and there has been so much lost, but I believe that this year's SoCo Beach Project and the year's to come will be a beautiful part of God's story for young adults and the people we encounter along the way.