Each month, we will feature a different Conference board, committee, council or team for the next year by highlighting a member and their connectional experience of serving beyond the local church.
Mission, Service and Justice Team (Missouri Standing Rule 117.00)
The Mission, Service and Justice (MSJ) Team provides for the missional, service and justice ministries of the Annual Conference. It also encourages congregations and individuals to learn about and participate as advocates for social justice issues. All responsibilities assigned by The Book of Discipline to the Conference Board of Global Ministries and the Conference Commission on Christian Unity, Ethnic Local Church Concerns and Native American Ministries will be carried out by the MSJ Team. The team links congregations to the general church through the General Board of Church and Society and the General Board of Global Ministries. The team also collaborates with staff to carry out the work of the Office of Mission, Service and Justice, including its work with Volunteers in Mission and Disaster Response as well as a host of ecumenically related projects (e.g., Heifer International, Festival of Sharing, PET, etc.). The Missouri United Methodist Disaster Response Team will function as a task force of this team.
Featured Team Member: Rev. Kathleen Wilder (she/her)
Rev. Kathleen Wilder is senior pastor of Lafayette Park and Centenary United Methodist Churches located in the city of St. Louis. Rev. Wilder has served in the Missouri Annual Conference for over two decades. Prior to ministry, she worked in corporate training at Spring PCS (now T-Mobile). Rev. Wilder is widowed and the mother of three children.
What do you enjoy about serving on the MSJ Team?
The MSJ Team celebrates and encourages congregations in their important work for mission in their local communities, service through acts of mercy in their local communities and advocating and working to bring justice that breaks down barriers of systemic injustice in their communities.
It gives me hope for the future of our denomination to see people passionate about mission, service, and justice. I enjoy making connections with people around the conference and learning about ways that we can support each other to make our state a better place for all people.
What might surprise clergy and laity in the Missouri Conference about serving on this team?
I have learned a lot from the younger members of the team. They have demonstrated thoughtful ways to ask the difficult questions so that we don’t offend and build walls between us, yet the questions facilitate us speaking truthfully to one another and moving forward for the Kin-dom of God.
Why does the work on this team matter?
I think that it matters because we encourage and multiply important work for our community. We don’t have to recreate things because we can adapt what one church is doing in one part of the state to make a difference in our community. It also helps us feel like we are connected so when I have a really challenging time in my local community, I can reach out to someone on our team that I can process and brainstorm with to find solutions on how to move forward.