Amanda Gastreich

Church Name: The Gathering
Gateway Central

Share any relevant background information including leadership experience both within the church and in other areas of your life.

As a lifelong Methodist I fell in love with the church at a young age. I served in every way that I could growing up, from youth group to being on the Conference Council on Youth Ministries (CCYM). I attended Annual Conference in various capacities through the years and watched as our statewide church grew from two conferences to one, debated closing our camps and many other vital issues. We are currently at an important turning point both in our state and our global church and I’m eager to be a part of the next transition.

In addition to a BA in Religious Studies and a Master’s of Public Administration, I am currently a certified candidate for elder in Missouri and I am currently a student at Eden Theological Seminary and am pursuing my Master’s in Divinity. In my current employment, I support a global non-profit ministry in its work to promote social justice and effect systemic change through using a corporate voice.

Describe your personal practices of intentional faith development that strengthen your spiritual engagement with God and your capacity for fruitful leadership in the church.

I believe in looking for God to speak to you in all things and seek to listen to God’s call every day. Whether this be though intentional prayer, meditation or through spending time walking or hiking in God’s creation, seeing the beauty of it and listening for God’s voice in my heart. Communal experiences are where I find the most meaning and engagement with Christ, whether through Sunday morning worship, or in weekly fellowship and study. 

In addition to leadership in small group study and professional coordination of volunteers and donors in non-profits. I have served as Student Pastor at Maplewood UMC, leading worship though word and prayer, as well as engaging in small group study and leadership in youth Sunday school. In the coming year I will be serving on a leadership team creating new space and worship experiences for people in downtown St. Louis.

Why do you seek election as a lay delegate representing the Missouri Conference?

As a seminary student and certified candidate for ministry, I represent the next generation of the UMC leaders who are called to take the up the mantle and lead the church. I believe fully in the mission of the United Methodist Church to “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” However, I am seeing so many of my class my classmates and colleagues getting frustrated with the church and look to other denominations to explore their call. I know that God is working in the United Methodist Church, both now and into the future. As a delegate to General and Jurisdictional Conference, I would seek to be part of the voice of future clergy as we rely on God to see us into our future growth for all of God’s people.

How will your involvement in General Conference 2020 support the church to fulfill the mission “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world”?

I pray that through leadership as a delegate I may seek ways for our denomination to be the church for all people of God. I have seen the power of our denomination to change and transform lives. By serving in the delegation I would seek to find paths in leadership to promote the continued growth of the church and its ability to bring people across the globe to the mission of Christ, being in service to all people.

Since the primary focus for Jurisdictional Conference is to elect new bishops, what qualifications do you think the church needs in its future episcopal leaders?

I believe that episcopal leadership must set a path and vision for the conference. Out leaders must be aware both of desires of the people in the church as well as to the injustices and inequities that exist in the world and within the church. We need brave and courageous leaders that will hold the church accountable to its mission, seeking always to, as our conference mission states, “relentlessly lead our churches to become outwardly focused and spiritually centered Christ followers.”