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Faith & Service

Students serve in Philadelphia during spring break

Philadelphia Project service trip

Kayla Ayers Mar 16, 2023

A group of eight Waynesburg University students spent their spring break serving the Philadelphia Project in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Joshua Sumpter, assistant professor of biblical and ministry studies and University chaplain, and Mary Woessner, secretary for Student Development, served as the trip leaders.

“WU students partnered with the Philadelphia Project to serve local ministry leaders through construction and painting projects with a local church,” said Sumpter. “Students were able to spend time with members of the church while working at our service site for the week.”

I think one of the biggest takeaways for me was a reminder that behind-the-scenes work is just as impactful as relational ministry. It doesn't matter what you do, everything you do can be used for the glory of God.”

Rachel Duncan

The Philadelphia Project partners with local churches to serve those vulnerable within their community. With the help of their volunteers, they are able to shine the light of God’s love through their works to those in need.

Through hands-on projects, students participating in this trip were able to observe the importance of behind-the-scenes work and how a seemingly small task like painting can make a difference.

“I think one of the biggest takeaways for me was a reminder that behind-the-scenes work is just as impactful as relational ministry,” said Rachel Duncan, a junior biblical ministry studies major. “It doesn't matter what you do, everything you do can be used for the glory of God.”

By stepping away from their daily routines to serve a community outside of their own, students were able to grow beyond the traditional outlets on campus—one of the many benefits of joining one of the offered service trips each academic year.

“Students were able to witness the diversity that exists in the body of Christ, within our team from WU and through those that we met,” explained Sumpter. “Students were able to go out of their comfort zone to learn new tasks, meet new people, explore Philadelphia and think through new rhythms of how they can serve others.”

And each encounter offered individuals their own time for personal reflection.

“One of the biggest ways I saw myself grow was being able to find God in the center of everything,” added Duncan. “I'm a person that loves to do work with people, so doing some things behind the scenes was difficult but just as fulfilling.”

In addition to discovering new ways to serve, students also had an opportunity to explore their own faith in ways they might not have otherwise done.

“Students were able to grow together and in their walk with Christ during this spring break mission trip,” added Sumpter. “They were able to attend worship services at churches that are different than their own tradition, which expanded their worldview and gave them opportunities to grow in faith.”

These moments not only provide unforgettable experiences but also a chance to make a lasting impression.

"Overall, getting to work alongside Professor Sumpter, Mary Woessner and other students with The Philadelphia Project was a fulfilling experience,” said Duncan. “God was definitely at work during the week and I can't wait to see how he uses the service we did to work in the community ties."

Participating students included:

  • Patrick Carlson, a senior criminal justice administration major from Crafton, Pennsylvania
  • Rachel Duncan, a junior biblical ministry studies (children and youth ministry) major from Uledi, Pennsylvania
  • Nathaniel Fletcher, a senior biblical & ministry studies major from Munhall, Pennsylvania
  • Lana Jordan, a sophomore forensic investigation major from Reading, Pennsylvania
  • Roudell Mofftett, a junior communication major from Lavalle, Maryland
  • Dominic Muraca, a junior music ministry major from Monongahela, Pennsylvania
  • Josiah Parker, a senior biblical & ministry studies major from Hollsopple, Pennsylvania
  • Colin Rhodes, a senior sports media major from Manor, Pennsylvania