“I stepped into Broad Street Ministry and Beacon last summer and immediately thought, ‘I have to come back here and bring my classmates,” said Rosy Robson (M.Div./M.A.C.E. student). So she did, with the Communities of Learning and Supervised Ministry and Vocational Planning offices, which sponsored a trip for Union Presbyterian Seminary students, staff, and faculty to Philadelphia for the first Alternative Ministry Break.
The group participated in various worship and service opportunities over the weekend, engaging with Broad Street Ministry, Beacon, and Arch Street Presbyterian Church. The trip included serving at Broad Street Ministry’s Breaking Bread service which provides high-quality meals to the city’s underserved population, and working at a local urban garden.
“We talked and reflected a lot on our sense of call this past weekend,” said participant Melissa Miller (M.Div. student). “Really, the question is not what position in the church are you called to but to what kind of work or cause are you called? The honest answer to that question will lead you to a church building, a hospital, a counselling center, a classroom, a homeless shelter, an urban garden, a church plant workshop, an administrator’s desk, a camp program. It’s about what makes your heart beat and your blood pump.”
The Alternative Ministry Break was the capstone of Communities of Learning’s year-long focus on creative expressions of ministry.
“In our classrooms and with our ordination committees, we talk about how the church is changing, but we struggle to conceptualize what this change looks like and what it will mean, said Robson. “Yet, these places are actual, living, breathing, examples of this change. These places are witnesses to the resurrection, and their lives of ministry and worship sing a song of hope for what God’s Church is unfolding into. We left Philadelphia inspired, energized, and excited for the paths that God has set before us.”