Service is alive and well

I was surprised to read in “No longer a rite of passage” (May 26) that Anabaptist leaders wonder “whether a culture of service is waning in Anabaptist churches.” When I look around the church I pastor, I see an ethic of service. Two of our recent college graduates are pursuing advanced science degrees so they can help combat climate change. Another is devoting research toward preserving habitat for an endangered species. Another researches the gap in support for women pastors. Another works to support local farmers in sustainable practices. All around me I see not only an ethic of service but investment in careers committed to justice and peace. 

I suspect that what the Anabaptist leaders who gathered for consultation are actually seeing is a decline in the number of students who take a year to engage in an Anabaptist service program. There are many merits to such programs. They can help people discover their vocation and can shape lives through communal living and relationships that form. And I know that the decreasing number of people pursuing gap-year experiences is in no way a reflection of the number of young people choosing lifelong commitments to serve our neighbors, communities and planet. 

Melissa Florer-Bixler, Raleigh, N.C.

Anabaptist World

Anabaptist World Inc. (AW) is an independent journalistic ministry serving the global Anabaptist movement. We seek to inform, inspire and Read More

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