A former Ethnic Young Adult Intern reflects on his experience in the program.
REV. DR. DAVID M. WILSON
for General Board of Church and Society
As I look back on my ministry as a lay person and now ordained elder in The Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference, I often think about the impact that the ethnic summer internship has upon my life in ministry.
It has been almost 30 years since I was an intern with Church and Society, along with 12 other vibrant, energetic and talented interns from across the country. I learned about the internship through the conference staff and applied during my junior year at Oklahoma City University. I was excited to be accepted into the program. I was a mass communications major and also would be on the path to ordained ministry in OIMC. I was happy to be appointed to serve in the office of former-Rep. Ben Nighthorse Campbell from Colorado, who was the only Native American serving in Congress.
The program was great because, while we served in various congressional and governmental offices on Capitol Hill, we also met together weekly to learn more about Church and Society and issues they were working with on the Hill and throughout the church. During the week I was fortunate to work with a great communications staff with Campbell’s office and was able to write press releases, go to hearings and sometimes accompany the congressman to tapings, etc. I was fortunate that the staff gave me many opportunities to serve well.
What I did not realize when I started was that all of the offices had many interns. Many came on their own and paid their way. Others came from other entities. We were fortunate to have a place to stay and a weekly stipend. When I first arrived a staff member from his office said, “We like having the interns from the Methodist church because they always do well.”
What I observed early in the internship was that since Campbell was the only Native American in Congress, there were representatives from many tribes around the country who would come and visit with him and also seek his help in advocating for their issues. His office was very busy, and it was interesting to hear from other staff members regarding the extra work that he had because of that status. He was not only the representative for Colorado but also for “Indian Country.”
The internship helped me tremendously when I arrived home and continued back to college and serving in the local church. It helped me to educate others about the work and ministry of Church and Society and the entire church the experience taught me much about the social responsibility we have as Christians in the world, and I have carried that through today.
Because OIMC is the only Native American annual conference within The United Methodist Church, we too are called to be a voice and witness to the Church regarding issues around the world regarding indigenous peoples. That has ranged from advocating for inclusion in the life of the church, acts of racism against our populations and the most recent, helping to aid those fighting for Mother Earth through efforts such as fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.
It has been a joy to partner and work with Church and Society as it continues to advocate for Native peoples in many ways and most recently through hosting the march on Washington in 2017 against the construction of the pipeline. The agency continues to be a visible voice for the Church to remind all of the inclusion of all and our call to live our lives as United Methodists through our social witness.
Interested in this transformative experience?
The Board of Church and Society is currently looking for this summer’s Ethnic Young Adult Cohort.
The Ethnic Young Adult (EYA) program is for young justice seekers willing to unpack their faith and identity while working with an organization engaged in addressing social injustices. Interns are placed with advocacy, public policy, nonprofit and grassroots organizations where they work four days a week.
EYAs are engaged in weekly seminars designed to explore a wide variety of social issues while also learning about The United Methodist Church’s history of pursuing social holiness. Interns live in community with one another and participate in weekly devotions. Interns are tasked with assignments for personal reflection, journaling and participate in group discussion.
EYAs have the unique opportunity to learn about the role of Church and Society at the U.N. by visiting our U.N. office. EYA interns also get to visit a UMC historical site
This is an eight-week program. EYA interns receive a stipend of $1,500 upon completion of program requirements. Program dates for 2018 are June 2- July 28.
To learn about the program requirements and apply and visit our EYA webpage.
We will begin reviewing applications March 1. Apply today, and spread the word to young justice seekers you may know.
If you have any questions, please contact our Internship Coordinator Katie Monfortte at firstname.lastname@example.org.
~The Rev. Dr. David M. Wilson is currently serving as the Conference Superintendent of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference of The United Methodist Church. He was first licensed in 1991 and was ordained Elder.