An Advent Study for HIV/AIDS

The Season for Change

On ecumenism

“United Methodists cannot solve all of the world’s problems on our own.”

“The idea is ridiculous,” said the 19-year-old from Ft. Myers. A member of North Fort Myers UMC, Willetts was among the class of Ethnic Young Adult (EYA) interns who worked this summer in Washington, D.C. The EYA intern program is coordinated by the General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) in cooperation with the five ethnic caucuses of The United Methodist Church.

Of Puerto Rican descent, Willetts studies economics at Princeton University, with a minor in Latin American studies. She said the main lesson she learned from a weekend visit to the Church Center at the United Nations in New York City was the value of ecumenism to make real change.

If we unite with other Christians to support social justice and make our voices heard, there is no limit to what we can do.

“If we unite with other Christians to support social justice and make our voices heard, there is no limit to what we can do,” said Willetts. “On an even larger scale, as people of faith we can unite with other religions to promote the values we all share instead of focusing on the differences among us.”

Willetts said the chapel at the Church Center for the United Nations, which houses GBCS’s U.N. and International Affairs ministry, has a beautiful, stained-glass window. In the middle of the window is an eye. She said the eye focuses in on the people in the chapel, but also looks out at the U.N. headquarters across the street.

“This image of the church monitoring the United Nations illustrates the purpose of the Church Center for the United Nations,” Willetts said. “As humans we tend to separate ourselves into groups: United Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, and the list goes on. We must come together, however, in order to affect change and become a powerful voice in the world.”

Willetts’ EYA internship was spent with UMCOR NGO, a network in mission of the United Methodist Committee on Relief.

Editor's note: More information about the EYA program can be obtained from the Rev. Neal Christie at (202) 488-5611. Application details are available at Internship Program.