It has not quite been a month since I first saw the full description of the Eco-Stewards Program internships– and I have now been in West Virginia for a week. Five months ago, I walked across a commencement stage and was given my master’s degrees: one in divinity, one in English. I have not quite figured out what I am going to be doing with these degrees (not in terms of how to hang them on a wall, but rather how I am going to use the knowledge gained in the process of earning them), and so I have spent the time between then and now working in a restaurant and largely trying to ignore the future.
I read through the placement descriptions, and was (I will admit) a little amazed by the thought of an eco-theological ministry; so often ministry is limited to the work done in the local church, to pastoring or preaching or working with the youth of a congregation. This, though, was something different. Working with a Christian camp and a church not just to “save souls” (whatever that may mean), but to work towards saving the earth as well? My first thought was, “Wow. This sounds really interesting–this sounds like something I would love to do.” The second thought was a realization that the application deadline was two days away. (The third thought noticed the start date of the internship.) I figured that if I could get in a good application, and go through the whole process and be accepted to the internship, I would chalk it up to God and head to West Virginia. I hadn’t spent any time off the freeways of West Virginia, but I figured that if God
wanted me there, God would shove me, and do some tugging on the other end to work things out the best God could. And so, here I am, considering myself duly shoved.
The combination of divinity and English master’s programs has given me a passion for justice–for people, for the environment, and for just theology. I have a sort of Superwoman mindset, in which I want to save the world (or whatever small corner of it I can actually influence), and I feel like this is a step in the right direction. I want to find new ways of doing ministry, within and without church walls. I want to experience and be influenced by the ministries of others, and to find where and how we can do the most good in the world.
It excites me that there are others who are interested in the same sorts of issues, and churches (and church-related camps) that are willing to take steps to care for all of creation, and not just humanity. I look forward to helping Bluestone Camp & Retreat and First Presbyterian Church of Hinton research their options in “greening” their respective facilities, and finding viable ways to go forth. Working at Bluestone in particular means working with youth, with the next generation of potential Eco-Stewards, and trying to help shape their perceptions of the world around us and our respective places in it.
Sabrina Jurey, 25, of Auburn, Washington recently received a Master’s of Divinity and a Master’s of English from Gardner-Webb University. This summer she will serve two intern roles, one with Bluestone Camp & Retreat and the other with First Presbyterian Church of Hinton, WV.