Brady Retreat Ministry Widens Its Reach
Many local churches offer mission trips to national and international locations, but at Brady we say “Don’t forget about our own backyard!” Syracuse has drawn national attention with its highest poverty ratings of blacks and Hispanics in the country, and extremely large number of high poverty neighborhoods. We at Brady witness the personal side of these numbers while walking alongside individuals and families affected by poverty every day.
One of the four main pillars of Brady Faith Center is a retreat ministry called Come and See, which offers relational and educational service experiences in Syracuse. When asked, past participants explain their Come and See experience as:
“One of the most enlightening weeks ever.”
“An experience to learn that everybody has a story, to appreciate what I have,
and to love first.”
“A service project to change your heart.”
“The nicest part was to just be present, to watch people and to just learn by listening.”
“A life-changing experience that helped me grow in the community and in my faith.”
Brady’s Come and See Retreat Ministry offers customizable workshops and immersions. Workshops include presentations by Kevin Frank, our director, bus or van tours to multiple ministry sites, and meaningful hands on service. Immersions, varying in length from one day to one week, include organized service schedules, speakers, night programming, and housing and meal planning. Come and See also runs Summer Servants, an overnight mission trip in Syracuse for teens and youth groups, in July.
Come and See gained the attention of Boston College High School last year when its campus minister heard Kevin speak at a mission appeal in Baldwinsville. This past June a group of 10 high school boys and two adult leaders from the school joined us for a week, serving at the many sites at Brady– Pedals to Possibilities, Jail Ministry and the Urban Farm, and also around Syracuse at L’Arche and the Northside Learning Center. Kevin spoke with them each night about Jesus and social justice, and ended the week with a powerful foot-washing ceremony. This group will be returning each year to Syracuse with new students, to continue this mission work.
When Come and See hosts an overnight group, they are housed at DeWitt Community Church, where we have enjoyed a wonderful relationship for seven years. It is also in this space where we house our Summer Servants camp, which runs for two weeks each July, and this year welcomed 100 people- our biggest summer yet!
Summer Servants served at 26 locations around Syracuse, in addition to completing minor home repairs for many of our Brady families. Camp began with laughter, food, and games for about 45 teens and their leaders per week, and then led into relational service through teachings, prayer rituals and action. We were blessed with three college interns, Nicole Antonacci, Samantha Wagner and Nick Walker, who led camp with passion and a desire for all teens to be changed through an experience with Christ. The Congolese community at All Saints Parish hosted us for a cultural night with a Congolese dinner, powerful testimonies, and soul-touching singing and dancing. We ended the weeks with a large community dinner where our teens, families and people from our ministry sites ate together and shared testimonies of their experience and growth. At Summer Servants we challenge the teens to move out of their comfort zones, to learn stories, to serve while being served, and to know that Jesus Christ loves them unconditionally.
We at Brady would like to grow our Come and See Ministry. Our dream is to have our own retreat center in Syracuse, where we can house and host up to 50 people. A kitchen, rec area, sleeping rooms and showers are all necessary. Would you join us in prayer for this request? Would you connect us with any financial or real estate opportunities which would allow for this growth?