First Christian Church’s THRIVE Youth Group Visits California | New

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First Christian Church of Shelbyville’s THRIVE youth group was blessed with the opportunity of a lifetime last week.

Pacific Grove Christian Church, in partnership with Blue Theology Mission Station, facilitated the group’s learning about what this means for stewards of the ocean and its ecosystems. They experienced first-hand the beauty and importance of caring for all of God’s creations, church staff said.

They spent a full day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, stopping en route to Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station to see the home of many local harbor seals.

They attended a multi-faith service on Asimolar State Beach, where they also picked up trash and participated in an ongoing sand crab research study.

After learning to surf in Monterey Bay, they worked with California State Parks in a greenhouse to help restore native plants to sand dunes that humans had nearly wiped out.

They went kayaking in Elkhorn Slough, or the “Heart of Monterey,” where they saw up close the complexity of the ecosystem we desperately need to protect.

The group also visited the beaches of Santa Cruz for another beach cleanup and visited NOAA’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

“It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” the staff said in an email. “We cannot thank our FCC congregation and our family, friends and community enough for supporting us in this mission.”

The church summed up their visit with the following Bible verse:

“For you have been called to freedom, brothers and sisters, only do not use your freedom as an opportunity to indulge yourselves, but by love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in one commandment: love your neighbor as yourself’ Galatians 5:13-15.

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