New church and community worker strives to redefine mission
“This is not a General Board of Global Ministries (GBMGM) moment,” said Bishop Joel Martinez. “It is a churchwide mission moment.” He referred to the recent commissioning service when eight international missionaries, 10 church and community workers, seven deaconesses, two home missioners, six mission interns, two Hispanic/Latino Plan missionaries and five US-2s were blessed and sent out in service.
One of the new church and community workers is Jennifer Battiest. A Mississippi/Oklahoma Choctaw, she always has felt a calling to work within the church; however, she struggled with conforming to the perceptions of others when it came to finding her niche.
“It’s taken some time to find clarity,” she asserted, “but I believe my calling is to advocate on behalf of Native American churches at the national church level.
“I’m interested in working to change perceptions of Native Americans, in addition to redefining what mission work truly means. A lot of work needs to be done in the church under the umbrella of racism, and then, of course, we need to address economic issues.”
Battiest will have an opportunity to define mission work in her role as director of the Clinton [Okla.] Indian Church and Community Center. The center works with children of the Cheyenne/Arapaho Nation.
A graduate of Oklahoma City University and Drew University, The Theological School, Battiest participated in the GBGM Summer Intern Program in 1997. Two years later, she became the first Native American participant in the US-2 Program. After her two years as a US-2, Battiest moved to New York City and served as missionary-in-residence for the GBGM Youth and Young Adult Program.
The daughter of two United Methodist ministers, Battiest is available for Covenant Relationship support through The Advance (#3019703). Your gifts are essential to her ministry!
--Adapted from a UMNS release by Linda Bloom, New York