Hope for the Church

Though she’s not an official part of the Kenaston family, below is the most recent blog by Maria Niechwiadowicz, Connor’s girlfriend and fellow missionary.

Taking the Call

The end of May brought a final family reunion for the Global Mission Fellow class of 2014-2016. Upon the end of General Conference in downtown Portland, we bused out to the serene haven that is A.Collins Retreat Center. Isolated in the midst of Oregon forest and under the warm hospitality of retreat staff, we were able to reflect, laugh, and be in community.

I have often described this family with positive words, unable to fully convey the unique love that has formed among us, but after attending a week of General Conference and then two weeks of our End-Term event, I now know what I am most proud of.

General Conference brought much dissent, emotions, and negative talk within the United Methodist Church. Tensions were high, decisions were made (and not made) to disappoint some and discourage others. Some left the Conference disheartened or even angry at the Church…

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About "Stretch Out Your Hand"

The next two years, I'll be serving as a Global Mission Fellow of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries. The Global Mission Fellows program takes young adults between the ages of 20-30 out of their home environments and places them in new contexts for two years of mission service. It grew out of the faith and justice emphases of the historic United Methodist US-2 and Mission Intern programs. Global Mission Fellows become parts of their new local communities. They connect the church in mission across cultural and geographical boundaries. They grow in personal and social holiness and become strong young leaders working to build just communities in a peaceful world. I'm from West Virginia where I'm a member of Lewisburg United Methodist Church in the West Virginia Annual Conference. Last May, I graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in History. I worked for the Yale College Dean’s Office and the Mayhew Program for “at risk” boys. While in school, I attended First & Summerfield United Methodist Church. My father is a United Methodist district superintendent and his mother is involved on the church’s general level. Connor S. Kenaston is a Global Mission Fellow of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, serving a two year term of service. The Global Mission Fellows program takes young adults between the ages of 20-30 out of their home environments and places them in new contexts for two years of mission service. It grew out of the faith and justice emphases of the historic United Methodist US-2 and Mission Intern programs. Global Mission Fellows become parts of their new local communities. They connect the church in mission across cultural and geographical boundaries. They grow in personal and social holiness and become strong young leaders working to build just communities in a peaceful world. Connor is from West Virginia where he is a member of Lewisburg United Methodist Church in the West Virginia Annual Conference. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Yale University. He has worked for the Yale College Dean’s Office and the Mayhew Program for “at risk” boys. While in school, Connor attended First & Summerfield United Methodist Church. His father is a United Methodist district superintendent and his mother is involved on the church’s general level. As a pastor’s kid, the church served as a “second home” for most of my life. A Mission of Peace trip to Cuba in 2008 made a particularly strong impact on my faith journey. On this trip we saw Christ already at work in the world, and I felt a calling on my life to work for justice. My college experience also significantly affected my faith, partially because, for the first time in my life, I lived in a diverse community where most people did not identify as Christians. Consequently, this experience helped me to define who I am, what I believe, and why that’s important to me. I'm interested in serving as a Mission Fellow because I have a strong call to share of God’s love and help the church be a prophetic voice for justice. It is my responsibility to make sure the church is in service—especially with the poor and marginalized in the world.
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