Taking charge of our cities: Movement Day NYC 2014

By Kholiwe Vundla
Student Writer

At Messiah College, many of the organizations and classroom experiences thrive around a mindset of service. With Harrisburg right on our doorstep and the city of Mechanicsburg in our backyard, we are anything but limited by opportunities for service and involvement while attending this institution.

Yet so many times when we have an image of service, we pair that with a distanced perspective of the environments we can affect. Many Messiah students are interested in Service and Missions Trips, which provide amazing experiences for many students to move out of their comfort zones into an environment where higher levels of need may appear more immediately evident. However, one purpose of these trips is to provide students with skills to use that they can then carry back to their own communities and become more aware of the need right in front of them.

At Movement Day NYC 2014 in late October, fourteen Messiah students were given the opportunity to listen to renowned speakers such as Tim Keller, Romanita Hairston, Luis Palau, and several panels of city leaders as they discussed the topic of “movement” within our own cities. This conference examined the importance of enabling city leaders to make the necessary changes and movements that they want to see within their own cities; focusing on their direct, immediate environment.

“Cities are the most influential places in the world,” said Messiah student and Movement Day attendee Brianne Roper. “If we can start a movement of Christ followers in cities, it has the power to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth and that’s what Movement Day is all about.”

One speaker, Vice President Romanita Hairston of the U.S. Domestic Programs of World Vision, discussed the importance of this generation in making changes in our future and in our cities. She posed the question; “Are the people you’re transforming capable of transforming the next generation?” It is imperative for us as students to recognize and fully embrace the impact that we have at this very moment in “making moves” in cities and communities. This is not something that begins on the day students receive their diploma. On the contrary, students carry the abilities and skills that we need with us every day and are constantly developing them as students to become more competent advocates in our own personal areas of interest and in our own immediate environments.

Junior student Abbie Daley reflected on the implications of this in her individual life.

“This event sparked discussion and I’m glad I was able to be a part of that thought-process before my career has even begun,” Daley said. “Being one of the youngest people at the event inspired me to think what actions I can take now while still in college to be more effective and purposeful in my job and life once I graduate.” ​

This event provided an incomparable experience for some of Messiah’s student leaders to understand and unpack the calling students have to our neighbors and our immediate environments, in addition to other individual callings they may have. Panel speaker, Lynette Frost declared that it is time for us to put our love into action. As students, we are not simply the future of our cities and our social environments, but rather an integral part of the present.

Therefore, it begs the question: are you ready to move?

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