by: Waltrina N. Middleton, Maser of Divinity Candidate Chicago Theological Seminary, Intern, Wider Church Ministries, 2009
Interning with Volunteer Ministries has reminded me of the old adage, "You can't stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can stop it from building a nest." As public servants, we can make the choice to stand on the sidelines or put our faith into action. That's what the service projects at General Synod were all about. We recognize that there are many circumstances in life we can't control (bird flying over head), but together, as people of faith, we have the gifts and talents as well as the responsibility to be a positive and global force in our respective ministries (prevent the bird from building a nest). Organizations like Pilgrim Manor Retirement Community, Habitat for Humanity and United Church Outreach Ministry have been shooing away nesting birds for years. This summer in Grand Rapids, they joined forces with the United Church of Christ and other non-profit and faith-based organizations to introduce participants to practical ways to serve at home. What was their bottom line? You don't have to wait until Synod comes around every two years in order to serve. The immersion begins in our classrooms, churches, community organizations and more. Further, we are in partnership with our sisters and brothers across the globe. We are a glocal (acting locally and globally) community responding to the United Church of Christ's charge to "Go forth into the world to let God speak to and through you." Together with faith, through public service, ecumenical partnerships, and community outreach, we are bringing the scriptures alive. So go ahead and declare your ministry a "Nest Free Zone" and together, let us continue the work of immersing our ministries daily in the sacred, service and stewardship, and something greater than ourselves. It's been my joy to serve as your intern for Volunteer Ministries this summer and I thank you for allowing me to immerse myself not only in service, but in faith, friends, and fun!