Confirmation Class Trip to Philadelphia, March 16-18

On the weekend of March 16-18, the confirmation class journeyed to the Philadelphia area to learn about several historical churches and many other points of interest.  This year’s group included:  Samantha Masser, Haley Bowman, Alexius Snyder, Sydney Schley, and Devin Wertz.  The first stop on our trip was the Augustus Lutheran Church located in Trappe, PA. This is the oldest Lutheran Church in America and was founded by Henry Muhlenburg. We were given a tour of the “Old church” nick-named such to differentiate it between the newer place of worship located right next to it. They still hold church services inside during summer months.

We arrived in Philly at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. This is where we stayed for the weekend.  We enjoyed lunch at the Reading Terminal Market.  After lunch, we continued on our tour through the city.  Points of interest included: Love Park, a Quaker Church and most notable, Christ Church, the birthplace of the American Episcopal Church.  Early members included George Washington, Betsy Ross, Ben Franklin, and John Penn to name a few.  We ended the evening with the movie “ A Wrinkle in Time”. Pastor discussed with the kids after the movie how it applied to their lives of faith.

Saturday was another full day. We started our day at the Philadelphia Seminary. We spent time in the chapel and the library. The history as well as current day events were discussed.  Mid-day we took an audio tour of Eastern State Penitentiary (which I highly recommend).   We got our picture taken with the statue of Rocky and then ran up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  I think Brian won this race?? We attended mass at Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. The service was a different experience than what the students were used to.  The evening concluded with dinner at a Chinese restaurant…..and then Shamrock shakes to make up for making them try something new.

On Sunday morning we woke up early, packed up our things and went to the 8 AM worship service at our host church. They have an interim pastor who delivered a great message. It was very comparable to what our 8am service would be like. We grabbed a quick bite and went to our final destination.  We attended Tabernacle Lutheran Church. This is a predominately African American congregation. We were immediately warmly greeted by:  Ryan, Arlette and Annie. I remember their names because we made a real connection with them. There was a fellowship time prior to the service. Rev Carlton Rodgers, a 6’10 former Drexel basketball player and second career pastor lead the service. The service was much like ours but more singing. If pastor felt he wanted to sing it one more time….we did.  I felt myself smiling and happy the entire service which I think lasted about 1.5 hours.  Our kids were very engaged during the entire service.  Their assistant pastor, Pastor Daniel Wollo is a native of Liberia. The worship service at Tabernacle is frequently lead by lay ministers. This day, Pat Moore-Hunter delivered a passionate message. Amens and other praises sounded throughout the pews at random.  Many components of the service were familiar as they used the Lutheran liturgy. After the service we were greeted by anyone that had not greeted us before. It was a truly amazing experience and several of the kids expressed wishing we had this type of service.  The pastors also took time following the service to discuss urban ministry as well as their paths into the ministry. 

If you get a chance, ask the kids what they thought about the trip. On behalf of the confirmation class and their parents, I thank you for continuing this educational/spiritual experience as part of the confirmation curriculum.

Jamie Masser