Peg Crilly is participating in the Communities of Shalom Internship by Drew University Theological School. She is serving as part of the program “A Future with Hope” of the Greatest New Jersey Conference of the United Methodist Church that brings relief for people affected by Hurricane Sandy in the east coast of New Jersey.
How would you describe your understanding and vision of prophetic ministry in the congregation and community?
I have learned that prophetic ministry is ministry that works with the people to identify and educate for oppression and inequality, and works with them to create a new vision and make it happen. It is scripturally grounded and may include many different things, and people would be ideally empowered and transformed in creating a new reality with justice and equality in relationships, resources, and self-determination.
Can you tell us about your experience with community organizing, community development and/or justice ministry?
While I do not think I have actual experience with community organizing, community development, and justice ministry, I have some interesting related work experience which educated me and fuels my passion for justice. I have organized programs in 2 of 3 shelters I worked at, one of which may fall under the prophetic leadership category, where I planned and led empowering youth programs for job and college success, nonviolent creative expression, and more (The Henry Robinson Multi-Service Center). From this agency and my other work, getting to know these real people, their struggles and oppression, and my position of privilege, affected me, and motivated me to work for justice. I would really like to try community organizing and justice ministry with Shalom.
How would you summarize your particular ministerial and social justice interests?
In particular, food, water, environmental, creation care education, and eco justice issues are my passions, including developing young environmental leadership for sustainability and food security. Very close 2nd’s are my interests in girls and women empowerment, empowering youth development for those at risk, street kids/foster kids/incarcerated kids, single moms, and equality for all people. I would be happy working with healing the “ism’s” and oppression and creating a new world.
What are your long-term goals for ministry?
I am called to Earth Ministry in healing our relationship with the Earth and greening faith communities; and reclaiming the feminine face of God, women in Jesus’ life, and within Christianity, and Catholicism. I also feel called to some chaplaincy, which may involve the above, and/or interfaith, ecumenical, children and youth in the system (incarcerated, foster, etc.). My long term goals for ministry involve figuring out how to do this and engaging in it.
What are some of the skills, life experiences, gifts & graces you will bring to this ministry assignment?
I have skills in the areas of experiential education in teaching and facilitation; youth development, management, and program planning; risk management; team working skills and can teach others to work together; outreach and relationship building skills.
As far as life experiences, they include very valuable experiences of being a minority in many places (including education) and have embraced different cultures; realizing my place of privilege; a respectful boundary crosser; working with people who are poor, homeless, immigrant, incarcerated, and youth at risk. I have expertise in taking people into the wilderness in the U.S., have been a leader in multi-faith worship with the GreenFaith Fellowship Program, been an activist for peace and justice for 5 years, and am not addicted to technology.
I have gifts in being creative, resourceful, and love to improvise; in Earth-based anything; in always rooting for the underdog and seeing their potential; in lots of compassion; being able to see a larger view of things; in music, art, and creative expression, and can make some of this happen; in exploratory learning and expeditions; being physically active; with youth at risk; seeing opportunities in adventure, fun, and learning; embrace Creation Spirituality, interfaith and multi-faith efforts, and have a spiritual awareness.
Describe your ideal summer ministry assignment.
My ideal placement would be one involving underserved or oppressed people with an empowering connection with the Earth. One of my ideal summer ministry assignments would be working with community development around an organic, permaculture community garden effort, learning/teaching about local foods, healthy cooking and eating, and skills around all this in efforts to transform food deserts, and making it a magnetic and vibrant place to be. Helping to develop leadership, feeding those who need food, and exposing young people to Green Jobs opportunities would be great too. Another might be to engage folks in reclaiming, cleaning up, and restoring public green space and waterways for recreational and community building opportunities. Working with environmental racism and eco-justice efforts would be another great possibility for me. Teaching theory on oppression (although they will teach me) and moving toward empowerment with education would be great too.