Anthony Sy (left) speaking with Peter Whyman and Rev. Lara Bolger about his summer internship at Redmond UMC.

By Anthony Sy | Ministry Intern serving at Redmond United Methodist Church

Coming from a church (Beacon United Methodist) whose practices are focused inward upon faith formation and spiritual growth, I’ve experienced my summer placement at Redmond UMC to be quite different. As Redmond’s Pastor, Lara Bolger, described it to me when we were first getting to know each other, Redmond is an outward church, which gears its ministries toward helping the community. While Beacon also does outward practices, it really emphasizes the importance of spirituality and self-reflection.

After getting to know the different ministries and work the church does, I’ve continued to appreciate how much the congregation, and associated volunteers, really enjoy their service to the community of Redmond. Every Wednesday evening from 5-7pm the church opens up its fellowship hall and invites the community to come and enjoy a warm meal. This weekly event is called Open Kitchen. Though it is open to everyone, it is focused on providing a meal for the homeless community.

redmond-derbyAnother way the church has decided to help the homeless community this year is through Redmond’s Derby Days. Derby Days is an annual parade/fair that celebrates competition, games, and races. The church has been a part of it for a number of years now and is dedicated in its participation. This year is special because members of the church planned to start an annual food drive during the parade. The donations would benefit local organizations that help feed the hungry within Redmond. This year was the kickoff, in hopes that the years to come will encourage more and more people to take part in a community event that will benefit this in need.

The passion that this church has to serve and love is heartwarming and I truly see joy in the faces that volunteer. Being involved with the outward ministries of this church has helped me to form a better understanding of the work and commitment needed to engage the local community. Aside from time, committed volunteers and effective communication to different organizations are key practices of an outward oriented ministry. Redmond is helping me realize how simple it can be given the right resources. Though the technical takeaways have been beneficial, I believe the spiritual growth I have experienced is much more rewarding.

The type of work I have been doing during my internship has helped me to grow spiritually through the people I work with. God’s love is so big and always present; I have felt that presence throughout my internship. I have always been called to ministries involving people because I find it easy to connect with others. Through my experiences so far, I have connected with many people, sometimes even without using words. Sharing a meal, serving the community, these things are spiritual practices. The sense of community and kindness that this church instills is amazing and I really enjoy being a part of it all.

Coming into my fifth week of this internship the church’s mission statement is becoming very clear, and very personal, to me. Love. Serve. Grow. is a perfect representation of my experiences so far at Redmond United Methodist Church and I am blessed to have been chosen and placed in this church. I am excited for what God has to offer in the last five weeks of this internship and I know that I will learn so much more in the weeks to come.

Anthony Sy is spending his summer serving at Redmond United Methodist Church, an intergenerational faith community serving the people of Redmond, Washington. He is one of seven young adults spending the summer in ministry internships across the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area of The United Methodist Church. Support received from the Young Clergy Initiative has helped to make Anthony’s internship possible. 

This post has been excerpted and edited for clarity from his mid-term reflection.


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