I am so grateful and glad to greet you as the new Executive Director of United Ministries. What an incredible ministry this is, and what amazing things God has done through United Ministries over the years! My name is Rev. Ashley Wilkinson Meyer, and I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself, and to share with you my excitement about this new season of service to God in the life of United Ministries.
I was born and raised in Pensacola, a lifelong member of Cokesbury United Methodist Church and a proud graduate of Booker T. Washington High School, Birmingham-Southern College, and Duke Divinity School. I thrive in opportunities to connect with people and learn from them. Through my wonderful family, church family, and this incredible Pensacola community, I learned from a young age to always be looking for opportunities to care for and serve alongside all God’s children.
One of my most formative life experiences was serving for several years at a Conflict Transformation Center in Bethlehem through the United Methodist Church. My friends in Bethlehem taught me about justice, peacemaking, and the power of God’s grace and love to transform entire communities, even in the most difficult of circumstances. I previously served as an editor for Presbyterian Women in the PC (USA), and back in 2011-2013, I was the ED right here at United Ministries! I most recently served as an associate pastor at my home church – Cokesbury UMC, and in June of this year, I was ordained as an elder in the UMC.
I am grateful to God for this new season of returning to United Ministries for the hard and holy work of caring for and empowering families in crisis. Friends, the call to love our neighbor in tangible, holistic, faithful and steadfast ways is simply manifold in these days. Christ calls us to be with all God’s children, to work for justice and peace, for wholeness and restoration. And United Ministries has long been a pillar of stability, hope, support, encouragement and empowerment for those who are most vulnerable in our community.
In these past weeks, I have been delighted to get to know our volunteers, Board and so many of the dear friends in our partner congregations and in the community. I have been asking all sorts of questions to learn more about the hearts of the people who invest in the hope and healing offered to our community through United Ministries.
My favorite question to ask is “what do you love about United Ministries and how do you see God at work here?”
The responses are powerful:
- Our volunteers share how grateful they are for the chance to tangibly offer love, empowerment, resources, prayer, support and encouragement to families who are going through incredibly challenging times.
- Our Board members share how they want to grow United Ministries into our vision – helping families not only through a one-time crisis, but also walking alongside them so that they can thrive and sustain transformation and healing well into the future.
- Our staff, Janelle and Tori, share how the Holy Spirt has just caught them up in the mission and vision of United Ministries to bring hope, healing, transformation and empowerment to the precious children of God who call in or come into United Ministries
Friends, God is at work in mighty and powerful ways in this place! And we are grateful and glad to belong to this joy-filled ministry that prevents families from losing their homes and provides families with healing and hope.
So, today, we reach out through this email to simply offer 3 things:
1 – THANK YOU. Thank you for being part of all God is doing through United Ministries! Your prayers, your gifts, your willingness to be a neighbor – these have helped to sustain and transform those who are most vulnerable in our community, and we are grateful.
2 – PRAY WITH US. Each morning at 9am we pray The Lord’s Prayer and we offer prayers for those who are vulnerable in our community; at noon each day, we pray The Prayer for Peace by St Francis of Assisi, and we hold in our hearts those healthcare and service providers in our community who are giving so much of themselves in these difficult pandemic days.
3 – SHARE UNITED MINISTRIES WITH SOMEONE YOU KNOW – OR INVITE US TO SHARE! We are grateful for all God is doing to love and heal families through United Ministries. We think it is pretty amazing that so many churches in our community have joined together over the past 34 years to help families in crisis. We would love for more people to be involved in this awesome work of God.
If you want to learn more, you can email me anytime at email@example.com and I’ll be glad to talk with you and your dear ones about United Ministries. Janelle and I would love to come and present to your church, Sunday school group, small group, book club, lunch bunch, you name it. If you are not currently meeting in-person, we can also send a personal video to you and your group. We love what God is doing here and we want to share it with everyone.
I look forward to getting to know you in the coming months. God is good – even and especially in these hard times – and I am thanking God for the opportunity to serve and to love my neighbor right alongside you in this beautiful community in which we live.
Peace and grace to you,
PS - What do YOU love about United Ministries and how do YOU see God at work here (and in our community)? I would love to hear from you in the days ahead!