Three young women spending a year in service, hosted by a Connecticut congregation, are already injecting new ideas, life and love into the church and its community.
The people of First Church of Christ, Simsbury, in its first year of the United Church of Christ's Young Adult Service Communities (YASC) program, are inspired by the positive presence of the trio living in a house on church property and the work they are doing — with local non-profits, in the congregation and with the Connecticut Conference of the UCC.
"Our three interns have had such an incredible impact on life at First Church in Simsbury," said Jennifer Sanborn, the congregation's YASC coordinator. "They sang [in worship] on Sunday, as they often do, and I could barely make it to fellowship hall due to the number of people who stopped me to comment on the power of their presence in this place."
Stewart Barker, who served in Swaziland is completing a Partners in Service placement in Kentucky
As part of the Global Mission Intern program, I was offered a domestic service placement on my return to the U.S. I am currently serving in Louisville, Kentucky with USPIRITUS, an organization that restores hope, instills confidence, furthers education, and encourages spirituality and faith through a comprehensive continuum of care for vulnerable youth and families. USPIRITUS has 160 children who live in assigned cottages. They provide many services and resources for the children residing there. I have been helping organize the donations that have been given to USPIRITUS. I have also been working with a high school volunteer group who help me carry out various projects.
I am very thankful for this placement because it encourages me to lead, but allows me to also step back so that I can be led. In Swaziland, I learned a lot about patience and doing what is needed for the bigger picture. Here also, I have been able to learn and focus on qualities I can work on to ultimately be the best I can be. Both of my assignments have opened my eyes to service in the world. Thank you Global Ministries and Partners in Service for allowing me to serve in these ministries and showing me that God is still speaking.
Kearstin Bailey, serving in Greece with refugees arriving from across the Mediterranean after having served in Hungary
Transitioning to my new Global Mission Intern placement in Greece has been a wild ride. I finished my term with the Reformed Church in Hungary at the end of September 2017 and was not able to serve with the Evangelical Church in Greece until mid-February 2018 due to visa issues. I was finally able to depart and start my placement in Katerini, Greece with Perichoresis – a church affiliated organization that works with refugees in Northern Greece. After my time in Hungary doing holistic refugee integration, I have been brought into Perichoresis to work on a new long-term project for refugees who are being resettled in Greece. The organization runs three different projects, but the one that I work on is quite small. We have ten families that our staff of five works with to help them integrate into life in Greece and begin building new homes in Katerini.
aServing in Katerini makes me feel like my soul can breathe again. Returning to this place feels much like coming home. My coworkers, landlords, and beneficiary families have welcomed me back with open arms and wide smiles. Since I already know the organization, my transition to this new place has been refreshingly comfortable. I honestly cannot wait to see what the rest of my year will bring.
Update from Anya McMurrer YASC Intern
In November of 2017, YASC provided me with the opportunity to attend the IMA World Health members and executive board meeting. It was a fascinating look into the way that larger scale nonprofit organizations operate - I got an inside look into budget operations and donors, as well as learn more about what IMA World Health’s mission is and how they carry it out.