Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Spirit of Transformation

I must admit, I came to Sing a New Song with some mixed emotions. Less than a month ago I left the staff of the Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA) to prepare for seminary, which I will begin next week at the Boston University School of Theology. I wondered if it was too soon for me to return to “work,” whether it would be hard for me to watch others carry the torch as I stepped back for a bit. After all, I wanted to take some time to discern how I would carry my recent experiences in social justice ministry to seminary and beyond.

While laying low, I attended a workshop on environmental racism, hearing afresh the staggering inequalities in access to clean and safe living spaces, while learning how churches can facilitate local grassroots efforts to improve lives. Later I caught up with Susanna McKibben who gave a session entitled, “Immigration: Rhetoric and Realities.” Susanna also guided the OnFire delegation in an immersion trip to the Arizona-Mexico border, not long before the passage of SB1070. I also participated in a phone bank to make preliminary contacts to General and Jurisdictional Conference delegates to ask for their support in ending the harm to gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender persons (five calls made!), and I pledged to meet with at least one delegate to General Conference before next April.

Sitting near the back of worship one morning, a dear mentor leaned over to me and asked, “well, Jennifer, did you ever think you’d be sitting here when you arrived back from Germany [in 2008]?” “Nope,” I replied, as I returned my gaze to a room filled with color and song. And it hits me: I have been transformed. The music, the people, the travel, the education, the organizing, the relationships, the phone calls. I have never decided how the Spirit moves. I do not determine the “right time” to engage. I am not the one who carries the ministry of justice, but rather I am carried by a movement of people who are responding to a lifelong, ever-present call to being and doing church. I can’t wait to see where the Spirit carries us next.

Jennifer Mihok will soon be a first year MDiv student at the Boston University School of Theology and is seeking candidacy in the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference. Before joining the staff of MFSA in 2009, Jennifer served a United Methodist congregation in Genthin, Germany as a mission intern with the General Board of Global Ministries.

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