|Seventeen Young Missionaries Commissioned To Service|
New York, NY, July 15, 2007--;On Sunday morning at the United Methodist Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew in New York City, 17 young adults kneeled and were commissioned for United Methodist missions throughout the world.
"This is not about success," said Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar of the Greater New Jersey Conference, who addressed the new missionaries. "It is about faithfulness. Following Christ means going to places the world doesn't want you to go. Following Jesus means taking risks for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ."
The new missionaries will be sent to national and international community-based organizations, where they will work on social justice issues while developing their personal spiritual strength.
Nine of the young adults were commissioned as US-2 missionaries and will serve communities in need throughout the United States for two years. The other eight young adults have been commissioned as mission interns and will spend three years, of which half of their time will be devoted to international work and the other half will be devoted to national work. They will face issues such as poverty, hunger, drug abuse, domestic violence, and social conflicts.
"This is the church's recognition of what we're being sent out to do," said David Hosey, a newly commissioned mission intern assigned to Jerusalem. "This is an affirmation by the church of our desire to serve, which was before only very personal. [The Mission Intern program] combines faith and justice and peace issues."
Before being commissioned, the young missionaries spoke in unison the Wesleyan covenant prayer, "I am no longer my own, but thine…Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and with a willing heart give it all to your pleasure and disposal."
Bishop Devadhar, along with the Rev. Edith L. Gleaves, deputy general secretary of mission personnel of the General Board of Global Ministries; Steven Goldstein, assistant general secretary of mission personnel; Rev. James F. Karpen of St. Paul and St. Andrew; and Mary Baldridge, director of the General Board of Global Ministries, performed the laying on of hands to each of the new missionaries during the ceremony.
As he laid hands on each of the missionaries, Rev. Devadhar said, "I commission you to take the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ into all the world."
Rev. Gleaves told the congregation that the anchor cross, an early Christian icon, symbolized faith, hope, and love. Rev. Gleaves presented each new missionary with his or her own anchor cross necklace.
After the commissioning, Bishop Devadhar asked the new missionaries to stand and turn toward the congregation. He presented the new missionaries to a cheering audience.
The congregation spoke in unison to the new missionaries: "As members of The United Methodist Church representing the whole church, we send you into service with your special gifts and graces. We have called you; we support you. You are our gift to the world. We will receive you back again on behalf of all God's people."
"Being commissioned as a missionary is the complete consecration of oneself," said Bishop Devadhar after the commissioning. "And also it is the empowerment to be in the presence of Jesus Christ wherever they are."
Rev. Karpen, whose church hosted the event, said, "I felt very moved by the tremendous resource that has sprung out of our church this morning. God is moving in their lives. It is a privilege to be a tiny part of that."
"There is definitely a feeling of responsibility, but it is a blessing of responsibilities. This is social justice and mission jumbled into one. This feels surreal, but this is the affirmation of the church," said new US-2 Rebecca Yount of the Oklahoma Annual Conference, who will serve as an assistant public policy advocate for Church World Service in Washington DC.
The young adults interviewed to become missionaries in March and April and have undergone an orientation throughout the month of July. The US-2s and the mission interns will begin their work on August 15.
"I'm excited for our denomination when I see these bright young faces filled with joy," said Bishop Devadhar.
The new mission interns are:
The home conferences and assignments of the new US-2s are:
To become a US-2 or mission intern, you must be between the ages of 20 and 30, have a college degree or equivalent experience, and be connected to The United Methodist Church through a local church or campus ministry.
To learn more about the becoming a young adult missionary, link to: http://new.gbgm-umc.org/about/us/mp/missionaries/youngadults/
Date posted: Jul 19, 2007