What’s Another Word for Hospitality? “McAdams!”
Sunday, May 19, was a gorgeous day and our last high school youth group of the season. What was different about this when compared to other senior high send-offs? The McAdams family hosted our youth group at their home on Shem Creek. Allison (Mrs. McAdams) had been asking me for a while to please take her up on her offer to host us during a high tide. She twisted my arm so hard that I just couldn’t say no any longer!
It was fate that the date of the last youth group was the perfect night to host us. As all the kids arrived, we were greeted at the door by the gentle, warm, and larger-than-life smile of Allison. I said, “May the Lord be with you!” and all of the youth sang the response back (some better than others!). I then led the group in a prayer of joy and thanksgiving for the Spirit of hospitality. Allison walked us through their beautiful home, which is full of eclectic art, family treasures, pictures, and love. She took us out the back door, through their screened-in porch, and down the stairs to the marsh. We ducked under an old oak dripping fat with Spanish moss. The breeze was gentle and the golden sun was starting its descent towards the west.
We followed our faithful guide to their own private island, which their son Rob told me they simply call “The Island.” There is a cornhole area, an awesome dock off the back of the island, and a beautiful wooden deck with tables and chairs. We arrived to boiled peanuts and cowboy caviar, which was devoured by the high-schoolers in 2.2 minutes. Mrs. McAdams couldn’t believe how much DuBose Egleston could eat! Mr. McAdams and two of his grown children were at the dock fishing and tidying up as we arrived. What a lovely family retreat. I could just picture their three children growing up on “The Island,” fishing, swimming, and jumping off the dock––living Lowcountry!
We swam, took pictures for our youth group Instagram page (you should follow us), played cornhole, and sat around and vocalized our interest in having a contest to see who could make the biggest splash and who could make the littlest splash. After winning the big splash contest, Lily O’Dell tried to do a little splash––but it was bigger than her big splash attempt! Jackson Ayers won the littlest splash with a splash of 3 ft. They both will win a can of Spam and a blank gift card! Hahaha––suckers! Just kidding, folks ... they will each win a prize next year when youth group starts up in the fall. (I have to get them to come back somehow––this ain’t my first rodeo!)
After the games, we read from the book of Acts, chapter 13. Paul and Barnabas are called out to go and proclaim the Gospel. The church laid hands on them and sent them off. We do this same thing every year. We have the seniors come forward and I make the sign of the cross on their foreheads and anoint them with blessed holy oil. We then put them in the middle of a circle and lay hands on them. All of the youth leaders pray for them to stay true to Christ, to find a community of believers, to find a home church at college, and to make a radical difference on their campus for Jesus. Rob McAdams, who went through our youth program and remembered his own anointing, prayed for them to fall deeper in love with Jesus during their college years. I said, “Amen!” Owen Eberhardt and Shannon Griffith, both former members of our youth group who are now leaders at St. Philip’s, were there praying and caring for all the kids. Owen graduated from Clemson in December, and Shannon is almost finished with nursing school at Clemson. These two amazing young people went to Clemson and followed Christ all four years. They chose to pursue the Gospel over worldliness and made a kingdom impact for our great King! The anointing continues!
We ate a feast of chicken tetrazini, green garden salad, fresh watermelon and cantaloupe, and chocolate brownies to boot––all prepared and donated to us by Mrs. McAdams! We hugged our goodbyes and told the seniors we would see them at graduation. As I pulled out of the driveway and looked at Mrs. McAdams waving goodbye, I thought to myself, “What a wonderful world! ... when we live into our spiritual gifts and use them to pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
I drove over the bridge with a smile on my face, and now when I close my eyes and think of the word “hospitality,” I see the McAdams family.
If you are a member of this church and you have middle- or high-schoolers who are not involved with our youth program, they are missing out! Please visit stphilipschurchsc.org/youth-ministry to sign up, and we will put you on our youth group email list.