Pat Trask interned with GCSRW over the past year. The GCSRW staff would like to thank her for her work and dedication to the mission of our agency. We wish her well in her final year at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary!
By Pat Trask, GCSRW Seminary Intern
The school year is over, the sun is out (it was probably out before…), and it is time to reflect on my year of internship at the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (GCSRW).
In the beginning, there was reading and observation. What is GCSRW? How does it function? What is my role here? These answers became clearer as the work began. Blog. Assist with an expansive language webinar. Research on sexual ethics policies across the American connection. Help prepare for the Do No Harm seminar and for Annual Conferences. Work on reformatting the UMSexualEthics.com website. I was only in the office two days a week as an intern, and there was always something new on the horizon each time I returned for someone in the office as seven staff members did the work of the agency for the roughly 12,500,000 United Methodists across the international connection.
Meanwhile, in my other studies at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, I learned about the backdrop of United Methodist history, polity, and doctrine. These studies helped illuminate my experiences and observations at GCSRW, strengthened my ability to reflect theologically on my work at the agency and to understand the position of the agency within the United Methodist structure. They helped me understand the history of GCSRW (available at gcsrw.org), the history of General Conference actions regarding the agency (for example, Plan UMC from General Conference 2012), and the necessity of an agency to monitor and advocate on behalf of gender equity within the church. My studies and my internship blended theory and practice so that both experiences were enhanced.
Just as a local church in Nigeria or Manila, the Philippines, is connected to a local church in Iowa or Alaska, my experiences at GCSRW this past year are connected to my seminary education and, I believe, to the church as a whole. I won’t forget what I learned at GCSRW anytime soon, and I will encourage others to get to know the work of GCSRW too. The perspective voiced by GCSRW is important to us as a church, and it is important to have various voices heard as the church moves forward in the 21st century. I look forward to watching the work of GCSRW as I continue in my studies at Garrett-Evangelical and as I move forward into ministry following graduation. It has been a great experience, and I would encourage others to learn about the work of GCSRW and to support its mandated work within The United Methodist Church across the connection.
Pat Trask is a former lawyer and a second-year student at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. She is working this year as GCSRW’s seminary intern.