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United Methodists revive summer mission internship

By Elliott Wright*
Jan. 3, 2008 | NEW YORK (UMNS)

 


College student Sarah Bakersman sorts groceries at a food pantry during the Student Forum held at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash., in May. The United Methodist Board of Global Ministries is resuming a summer intern program that places young adults in mission settings in the United States. A UMNS file photo by Vicki Brown.
 

The mission agency of The United Methodist Church is resuming a program that places young adults in mission settings in the United States for 10 weeks of summer service and education.

A dozen people ages 18 to 25 will be selected for 2008 as the program is reintroduced after nearly a decade of inactivity. The sponsor is the mission personnel program area of the denomination’s Board of Global Ministries.

The young people selected to take part will receive a $1,000 stipend, travel to and from their place of assignment, and room and board.

"I am so pleased that we are reviving the summer internship," said the Rev. Edith Gleaves, who leads the mission personnel unit. "In the past, this program served as a strong introduction to mission service for young adults, and some participants went on from there into the longer-term young adult missionary programs and to other professional roles in the church."

Gleaves noted a particular interest in internships among ethnic and minority students in the past.

New emphasis

The revival of the summer program is part of a renewal of emphasis on short-term young adult mission service at the mission board. The Rev. Suzanne Field-Rabb is the newly named executive secretary for youth and young adult ministries.

The 2008 summer interns will be placed with United Methodist institutions and churches across the United States. "Working in new, often unfamiliar environments offers young people opportunities to experience firsthand how mission functions in a world of diversity," Field-Rabb explained. "Each placement involves some element of social justice, which allows interns to become engaged with the church in action in eradication of injustice."

Successful applicants must be able to dedicate a full 10 weeks to the program. Orientation begins in New York City on June 1. Service gets under way June 8 and ends Aug. 2, followed by a week of debriefing, again in New York. Participants must have completed at least one year of higher education. An online application form is at http://new.gbgm-umc.org/connections/youth/.

The deadline for applications is Feb. 1. Phone interviews will be in March. Notifications of acceptance will come in March or April, and the placements will be announced in May.

The summer internship was popular in the 1980s and 1990s, with 26 placements in 1996. The program went dormant in 2000 when the mission board shifted funding to several multiple-year mission opportunities designed to appeal to young adults. Those programs were themselves allowed to run their courses when a financial crisis hit the organization a few years ago.

*Wright is the public information officer for the Board of Global Ministries.

News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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