WASHINGTON, D.C. — Twelve persons, ages 19 to 23, began work here early in June in the Ethnic Minority Young Adult (EYA) Summer Internship program of the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS). They are working in nonprofit and nongovernmental social-justice organizations in the U.S. capital for two months.
Young adults are selected annually, primarily from the five ethnic caucuses of The United Methodist Church (UMC), to participate in the internships. In recent years, Central Conferences (outside the United States) have had an increased participation in the internships.
To qualify, applicants must be passionate about social justice and active in the denomination, according to the Rev. Neal Christie, GBCS assistant general secretary for Education & Leadership Formation who directs the program.
Christie, an EYA intern himself in 1984, said the internship is The United Methodist Church’s only leadership development program with a public-policy and advocacy focus that reaches out to under-represented racial and ethnic young adults of color.
“This summer we have students from across the United States, representing Asian, African, Caribbean, Pacific Islanders and Puerto Rican ethnicities,” Christie said. “This is the third year in a row that we have had such a significant involvement across the global church.”
This year’s intern placement sites include the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, Men Can Stop Rape, National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People, Interfaith Worker Justice and Churches for Middle East Peace.
8 U.S., 3 African conferences
The 12 interns come from eight United Methodist annual (regional) conferences, and three from Central Conferences in Africa. All of the denomination’s five U.S. jurisdictions are represented.
The 2013 interns include four persons of African-American ethnicity, two Asian Americans, one Haitian, one Pacific Islander, one Puerto Rican, and three Africans: two from Democratic Republic of the Congo and one from Liberia.
Twenty-year-old Julia “Ali” Santiago is a former member of GBCS’s Board of Directors. She was nominated at the age of 15. During four years on the board she learned a lot about “the impact GBCS truly makes in our society as a faith-based agency standing up for people’s rights,” according to her.
2013 Ethnic Minority Young Adult Interns
- Malissa Eaddy, African American, 22, Roselle, N.J. (Greater New Jersey Conference). She just graduated from William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J., with a tri-major of Philosophy, Asian Studies and International Relations. Placement is with the Faith & Politics Institute, which has served hundreds of members of Congress and congressional staff by offering experiential pilgrimages, reflection groups, retreats and public forums. Her local church is Franklin St. John’s UMC in Newark, N.J.
- Errolyn Gray, African American, 22, West Point, Miss. (Mississippi Conference). She just graduated from Alcorn State University in Lorman, Miss., with a degree in Mass Communications. Placement is with RESULTS, which creates long-term solutions to poverty by supporting programs that address its root causes. Her local church is St. Paul UMC, West Point.
- Jamil Hendricks, African American, 21, Kansas City, Mo. (Missouri Conference). He attends Pittsburg (Kan.) State University majoring in Psychology. Placement is with Men Can Stop Rape, which empowers male youths and the institutions that serve them to work as allies with women in preventing rape and other forms of men's violence. Local church is St. James UMC, Kansas City.
- Heather Marie Jue-Wong, Asian-American, 19, Ann Arbor, Mich. (Detroit Conference). She attends Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa., majoring in Global Studies. Placement is with Jubilee USA, an alliance of more than 75 organizations, 250 faith communities and 50 Jubilee global partners building an economy that serves, protects and promotes participation of the most vulnerable. Her local church is First UMC, Ann Arbor.
- Jonathan Jue-Wong, Asian-American, 19, Ann Arbor, Mich. (Detroit Conference). He attends Oberlin (Ohio) College majoring in History. Placement is with Churches for Middle East Peace, a coalition working to encourage U.S. policies that actively promote a just resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, ensuring security, human rights and religious freedom for all people in the region. His local church is First UMC, Ann Arbor.
- Lia Koroi, Pacific Islander, 20, Sacramento, Calif. (California-Nevada Conference). She is majoring in Medical Billing and Coding at Carrington College California, Sacramento. Placement is with National Religious Campaign Against Torture, which mobilizes people of faith to end torture in U.S. policy, practice and culture. She attends Centennial UMC in Sacramento.
- Joshua Kulah, Liberian, 19, Monrovia, Liberia. (Liberia Conference). He attends Asbury University, Wilmore, Ky., studying Political Science (International Affairs). Placement is with Interfaith Worker Justice, which has been a leader in the fight for economic and worker justice in the United States since 1996. His local church is New Georgia UMC in Monrovia.
- Glory Mulimba, Congolese, 23, Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo. (South Congo Conference). He attends Africa University in Mutare, Zimbabwe, studying Business Management. Placement is with Men Can Stop Rape. His local church is Jerusalem Parish UMC, Lubumbashi.
- Julie Njiba Mwamba, Congolese, 21, Dowa, Republic of Malawi. (Zimbabwe Episcopal Area). She studies biology at University of Ottawa in Canada. Placement is with Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, a national community of people and organizations from all faith traditions dedicated to achieving reproductive justice. Her local congregation is God is Good Church, Dowa.
- Jessica Yardley Pickens, African American, 19, Chicago. (Northern Illinois Conference). She attends University of Maryland in College Park, majoring in Psychology. Placement is with National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People. Local church is Southlawn UMC, Chicago.
- Jeff Preptit, Haitian, 20, Bristol, Tenn. (Holston Conference). He attends Milligan College in Johnson City, Tenn., studying Political Science with an emphasis in International Relations. Placement is with Syrian Emergency Task Force, which advocates for the demands of the people of Syria for freedom and democracy, and supports humanitarian aid organizations in relieving the crisis in Syria. He is a member of First UMC of Bristol and attends Cherokee UMC, South Johnson City, when he is at school.
- Julia “Ali” Santiago, Puerto Rican, 20, Jacksonville, N.C. (North Carolina Conference). She is pursuing a double major in Psychology and Social Work at Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C. Placement is with Methodist Federation for Social Action. Her home congregation is Trinity UMC in Jacksonville.
In addition to their work placements, interns also participate in weekly seminars exploring issues that affect different racial/ethnic communities.
The Rev. Doris Warrell is the 2013 Ethnic Minority Young Adult (EYA) program coordinator. She is a deacon in the Baltimore-Washington Conference, and is Field Director at Churches for Middle East Peace. She supervises EYA intern placements and leads their seminar experiences.
Kelli Kosuda, a Masters of Divinity student at Duke Divinity School, is serving as EYA resident adviser and chaplain during her summer internship with Education & Leadership Formation at GBCS.
George Washington University
Interns are housed at George Washington University. They attend church together each Sunday, and meet for weekly evening devotions and Bible studies. Kosuda leads the Wednesday worship.
“The EYA interns truly embrace what it means to live in Christian community day in and day out,” said Christie. “They know that this summer is more than professional stair stepping or positioning to pack a resume. It’s about witnessing to the Gospel in their placements and in their Friday seminars.”
The interns travel to New York City July 11-14 to visit GBCS’s United Nations & International Affairs office. It is in the Church Center for the United Nations, owned by the United Methodist Women, across the street from the United Nations. They will also visit the General Board of Global Ministries, the United Nations and some social-justice programs.
“Funding for the EYA summer internship is, of course, very limited,” said Christie. “Costs for housing continue to rise. With increased funding, we could open the EYA internship to many more students from Africa, the Philippines and Europe.”
Christie said EYA money comes from World Service funds, missional giving from local churches. “A significant portion of those World Service funds are set aside by the General Board of Church & Society to strengthen racial and ethnic leadership ministries in the local church and conferences,” he said.
More information about the EYA program can be obtained from Christie at (202) 488-5611 or email@example.com. Application details are available at EYA Internship Program (http://umc-gbcs.org/eya-internship).
The General Board of Church & Society is one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church. Prime responsibility of the board is to seek implementation of the Social Principles and other policy statements on Christian social concerns of the General Conference, the denomination’s highest policy-making body. The board’s primary areas of ministry are Advocacy, Education & Leadership Formation, United Nations & International Affairs, and resourcing these areas for the denomination. It has offices at the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York City.
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