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FLUMC summer interns learn the pastoral experience

FLUMC summer interns learn the pastoral experience



Meet some of the 2021 pastoral interns in the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church.

This program is for young adults, ages 18-26, interested in exploring ordained ministry through 10-week summer internships at United Methodist churches and other approved extension ministry settings within the Conference.

The Conference can make exceptions to the age guidelines.

These internships seek to provide a holistic, hands-on experience in pastoral ministry within various areas of responsibility and under the guidance of a supervisor.

Essentially, they get to shadow a pastor and do all the things a pastor would do. 

They are asked to preach twice in the ten weeks, teach a bible study, attend all administrative meetings, do pastoral care at hospitals, nursing homes, or homes.

They participate in children's and youth programs, often with VBS. Some go on mission trips. It varies from site to site, but the idea is to get the full range of pastoral experiences in preparation for the next generation of UMC leadership.  

DANIELA PAZ

Daniela Paz

Age: 18

Hometown: Miami

Education: High school graduate

How is your summer pastoral internship helping you understand the role of a pastor? Do you think God might be calling you to pastoral ministry?

I actually don't see myself becoming a pastor right away, but I feel called to teach and counsel. 2021 was a new beginning for me, and this is the year I began to hear GOD's voice clearer. I just got out of a relationship, and it allowed me to learn that I don't know how to love, but that's where GOD has manifested himself in the renewal of my mind. 

Which biblical scripture speaks clearest to you?

At the moment, Ephesians 6: 10-20, as this section speaks on the Armor of GOD, which I've learned is a revelation about who GOD is and what is the character of Christ. 

What is the most important issue or issues the church faces today?

One of the issues brought to my attention is the lack of respect women leaders face and how traditional mentalities have been taken to extremes and brought inferiority onto women. I'm grateful women have been able to grow in their access to positions, but equal pay is one of the outside solutions to the issue, where I'd focus on the mindset we hold for women to be equitable of that of men. 

DYLAN FRYBARGER

Dylan Frybarger

Age: 20

Hometown: Edgewater

Education: Currently enrolled at Stetson University, majoring in psychology 

How is your summer pastoral internship helping you understand the role of a pastor? Do you think God might be calling you to pastoral ministry?

My summer internship is helping me to understand how much preparation and research are necessary for pastoral work. I believe I am called to ministry due to my experience in life. I have suffered from mental health issues throughout much of my adolescence and hope to help others struggling with mental health. Especially in these times where people are isolated, we need accessibility for mental healthcare.

Which biblical scripture speaks clearest to you?

Matthew 19: 23-30 is a piece of scripture that speaks to me. Jesus tells the disciples the confusing nature of God. Some standout verses for me are 26, "But Jesus looked at them and said, "For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible." and 30 "But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first."

What is the most important issue or issues the church faces today?

A major issue in the church currently is division, though I suppose this is an issue that is nationwide. We need to realize that we are all humans and look beyond politics to the person's soul and gain a greater understanding of one another. We must love our neighbors regardless of their political beliefs. We are one body under Christ.

ELEANORE ERIKSON

Eleanore Erikson 

Age: 19

Hometown: Palm Harbor

Education: Studying at St Pete College

How is your summer pastoral internship helping you understand the role of a pastor? Do you think God might be calling you to pastoral ministry?

I don't feel called to pastoral ministry, but I am currently in the discernment process to see how I can best honor God and build His kingdom. As Christians, we are all called to evangelize, so I am diligently working towards gaining confidence in sharing the Gospel.

Which biblical scripture speaks clearest to you?

Matthew 6:25-34. In this season of my life with school and honing in on what I would like to focus upon for my future, it brings me great comfort that Jesus so clearly teaches us not to worry. 

What is the most important issue or issues the church faces today?

There are many issues that the churches face today, but one that is really important to me is the prominence of cultural Christianity. By this, I mean people who identify as Christians and may even claim to be born again but aren't truly leading their lives focused on being Christ-like and dedicating themselves to him. It's disappointing to see how many American's view Christians as judgmental when it is contradictory to how Jesus taught us to compose ourselves based upon his example. We are all sinners, our flesh is inherently bad, yet we must strive to be a light in this world and hold our fellow Christians accountable for maintaining their spiritual health and discipline.

HEATHER ANNE JAMIESON

Heather Jamieson

Age: 56

Hometown: DeLand

Education: Higher National Diploma in Aerospace Engineering Technology (Avionics) (Royal Air Force). Bachelor of Social Work (University of Central Florida)

How is your summer pastoral internship helping you understand the role of a pastor? Do you think God might be calling you to pastoral ministry?

When I started the internship, I was worried that I would find it difficult to fill the number of hours with productive work. At the halfway point, I realized the problem was more about getting everything done without spending 100 hours a week on pastoral work!

One of the biggest things that the internship has shown me about the role of a pastor is that whatever you think it might be this week, God will show you something else next week!

I have found that each congregation member has a different idea about what they want from you as a leadership team member. Some are easy, some more challenging. One of the things I have found is that one person cannot be all things to all people. Ongoing prayer and guidance from other members of the team, both supervisors and others, are essential to maintain the right balance and understanding of reasonable expectations and those which have to be approached more creatively.

At this point, I would say yes (God is calling me to pastoral ministry), but I have faith that God will show me the path he wants me to follow on an ongoing basis. 

Which biblical scripture speaks clearest to you?

I do not like to single out individual bible verses. As presented in the Bible, the message of Jesus is complex and nuanced and is rarely, if ever, revealed all at once. Just when something becomes clear to me, God seems to have a way of putting a different spin on it! Where individual pieces of scripture can bring comfort, inspiration, hope, and joy to people at various times in their lives, I feel that they are also sometimes used as sound bites or like the sayings in fortune cookies.

I believe that scripture is not something to be mastered but something to be read each time anew with a heart open to new interpretation and revelation.

What is the most important issue or issues the church faces today?

The biggest issue that the church faces today is the image in our social media, sound bite, meme, and sensationalist-news-driven society.

The loudest voices in our society today portray the church as money-driven, transactional (believe in this or that doctrine or go to hell), political (both left and right depending on who's yelling louder this week), judgmental, and hypocritical.

The message of Jesus is one of love, acceptance, service, and sacrifice. Our most difficult challenge is to find a way for the still, small voice to be heard through the melee.