Jen Houser is a student at Duke Divinity School serving On Earth Peace as her field placement. She is a pre-licensing candidate for ministry in the Church of the Brethren. Below is a recent reflection on her work with On Earth Peace in response to a school assignment.
Questions for reflection:
For what in this placement do I have joy? For what in this placement might I be over cynical?
Overall, I have enjoyed my time interning with On Earth Peace for the last six months. I enjoy the work I do that involves initiatives towards peace and justice. It brings me joy to be involved with a denomination and an organization that is generally more inclusive than others I have witnessed. I find joy knowing that my denomination is focused on serving our neighbors with the love of Christ. In my placement, I find joy as I connect with more people from the Church of the Brethren, despite being stuck in Methodist land during the school year at Duke Divinity School. I find joy working for an organization that is completely focused on working towards justice and inclusion of others in our denomination. It brings me joy to know that the future of our denomination will be more inclusive, welcoming, and focused on being the Church set out by Jesus.
However, as a naturally cynical person, I still have my doubts. I am cynical that my fellow young adults in the Church of the Brethren will want to stay in this denomination, or the church as a whole, depending on future conversations and actions that take place at various conferences. I am cynical that the Church of the Brethren will actually move to be fully affirming and inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community. I am cynical that I will find a pastoral job come graduation next year. I am cynical of the people On Earth Peace is reaching - that we are not doing enough to bring actual change to our denomination and the world. I pray that as my internship and my time in the Church of the Brethren continues, I find more hope in the people I serve.
- Jen Houser, Church and Community Groups Organizing Intern