Madalyn Minehart: A Heart for Service
“...if you believe in deeply enough in something, you can garner the strength to keep going.”
Manchester Univeristy, with its roots in the Church of the Brethren, educates students for a life of service. Accountants, educators, health professionals – graduates of all vocations leave with a sense of service instilled. At MU, I was taught by faculty to give and not expect anything in return. I was taught to approach every situation with open ears and an open mind. The church’s teachings on peace, justice, and service are woven through the foundation of Manchester and many of its educators. Being a student in the humanities, I had the privilege of working with students and faculty who were often more familiar with the values of both the University and the Church of the Brethren. I know my experience is not like all students’. Some leave Manchester and think the Church had little to no impact on their experience. Even as MU tries to evolve, it would not be Manchester without the Church of the Brethren. many people at MU who did terms in BVS and had positive experiences, so it seemed like a great idea. And so far, it has been. In a few days, I will be moving from Lancaster, PA, to Waco, TX, to begin a new placement. I am going to work at the Family Abuse Center, a shelter for survivors of domestic violence. The shelter is directed by Kathy Reid, who graduated from Manchester College in the early ‘70s. Her husband, Steve, is also an alum, and a former trustee. I am nervous for this cross-country move, Our commitment to social justice and peace, our unwavering close-knit community, the unmatched faculty and student relationships… they have roots in a beautiful faith tradition. I decided to join Brethren Volunteer Services simply because it felt like the right thing to do. I’m young, able-bodied, and have a desire to help others. I knew but excited for the new and exciting work. It will be emotionally demanding, but I believe so deeply in FAC’s mission. That’s something I’ve learned in BVS: if you believe deeply enough in something, you can garner the strength to keep going. Packing your life into suitcases and serving for a year sounds crazy to some, but if it’s for a cause you believe in wholeheartedly, the days are easy. As I travel to Texas to begin a new chapter in my BVS journey, it’s great to reflect on how instrumental the Church of the Brethren has been in my life. Some of my biggest mentors are Brethren women in the Church. I received an excellent education (in Religious Studies!) from a Brethren college and am now a part of Brethren Volunteer Services. I never could have imagined that this small denomination would be such a huge part of my life, but I’m so incredibly thankful for it.