Christian education was taken to a whole new level this summer as a group of high school juniors and seniors from Covington First United Methodist Church traveled to England, Scotland and Ireland to explore and learn about their Methodist heritage.
On June 7, eight students ages 16 to 18 and seven adult chaperones, including church youth minister Jennifer Morganthall, boarded a flight to London to begin their journey.
The 10-day trip took the group to 10 cities. The focus was learning about John Wesley, who founded the Methodist Church in England before bringing it to America.
In 1778, Wesley founded a church in London called City Road Chapel, or Wesley’s Chapel, which is still in operation today.
The group attended a Sunday morning communion service there, and then proceeded to visit Aldersgate Street, the place where Wesley experienced a "heartwarming experience" that prompted him to found his new religion.
Throughout the trip, the group visited several Methodist churches in the United Kingdom and Ireland, both historic ones that directly related to John Wesley and newer churches, as well.
The group also visited several cathedrals and abbeys, including St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey in London, Glasgow Cathedral in Glasgow, St. Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. While in Dublin, the group toured Trinity College and viewed the Book of Kells.
The idea for the trip stems from a trust fund that was endowed for the church several years ago. It was given to the youth program with the hopes of one day providing trips abroad such as this one.
The students had the opportunity to receive money from the trust to cover a significant portion of the trip by meeting two requirements: They had to be members of First United Methodist, and they had participate in a certain number of youth events.
The group also held several fundraisers, including a yard sale and participated in the church-wide pumpkin patch.
The trip, a junior/senior trip for the students, takes place every other year.
Depending on the year that it falls, students have an opportunity to go the summer after their junior or senior year of high school.
This is the church’s second Christian education trip. The first, in summer 2011, took the group to Italy, Greece and Turkey.
Each individual group of students has the opportunity to choose where in the world members would like to visit, to learn about Christian influence and history in that area.