Volunteering is Ministry: Celebrating Our Volunteers
I accidentally stumbled upon volunteer management as a profession over six years ago. After graduating from seminary, a job description caught my eye and sparked an excitement that I hadn’t felt since finishing my thesis. Naturally, I applied, not knowing that this would be one of the best decisions of my life.
Volunteer management offers me the opportunity to see the best of humanity — to see people who sacrifice time with their families, friends, jobs and hobbies in order to make the world a better place. Again and again, I have the honor of listening to volunteers’ stories of why they’ve chosen to sacrifice this precious commodity.
Those who have endured trauma tell me that they volunteer so that others never have to experience what they did. Those with loved ones in unsafe places tell me that they volunteer so that, one day, their loved ones might know what it is to go to sleep without fear. Those who have experienced discrimination tell me that they will not rest until the world changes. Those with beautiful and compassionate hearts tell me that so long as one person is hurting, the world is hurting. Different experiences and reasons bring volunteers to their cause, but, in all cases, their motivation is a passion, a commitment and a calling that they will not fail to answer.
Since joining the staff of Episcopal Relief & Development five months ago, I’ve had the wonderful pleasure of meeting many of our volunteers, over the phone, through email, in virtual meetings and in-person. I see Christ in each and every one of these volunteers. Even over the phone, their mission to be a beacon of God’s love in this world shines through.
With over 1,200 volunteers in congregations, seminaries and dioceses throughout the country, Episcopal Relief & Development is blessed, supported and represented daily by those who are deeply called to respect the dignity of every human being. Many decide to volunteer after God speaks through them in time in prayer, through an ‘aha!’ moment, in the face of disasters or in other spaces. Instead of ignoring this call, they say, “Yes. Yes, this, I will do. Yes, this, I will stand for. Yes, through this, I will be an instrument for lasting change.” This sacred “yes” is the start of their ministries with Episcopal Relief & Development. Our volunteers represent the organization through various ministries. They include:
- Ministry Partners: Ministry Partners answer the call to minister to their congregations, dioceses, provinces, seminaries and more on the good news of Episcopal Relief & Development.
- Partners in Resilience & Response: PiRRs are a dedicated team of volunteers who have experienced disaster in their own church communities and provide support in the face of new and ongoing disasters.
- Diocesan Map Administrators and Diocesan Disaster Coordinators: Diocesan Map Administrators oversee the information provided for their diocese on the Episcopal Asset Map while Diocesan Disaster Coordinators are instrumental in helping churches prepare for and discern disaster responses in their communities.
We are grateful for their tireless devotion, selfless spirit and unwavering support, not only this week, but every day.
Please join us in thanking and celebrating all of our volunteers. National Volunteer Week is April 19-25, 2020, and we want them to know how much they are appreciated. We are grateful for their tireless devotion, selfless spirit and unwavering support, not only this week, but every day.
If you’d like to learn more about volunteering in one of our ministries, please contact me, or visit episcopalrelief.org to learn more about Episcopal Relief & Development. The more who join us in working together for lasting change, the greater an impact we can have.
Kat Milligan is a Program Officer at Episcopal Relief & Development.
Image 1: Partners in Resilience and Response the Very Rev. Michael Bamberger and the Rev. Patty Baker visit around the Carr, Mendocino and Campfires with the diocesan leadership team from the Diocese of Northern California; Image 2: Episcopal Relief & Development Ministry Partners tour Hurricane Harvey recovery work with the Rev. Jim Liberatore and Debbie Allensworth of Mosaic in Action.