(Southwest Emergent Resource Volunteers)
There have been many casualties in 2020: loved ones are first and foremost, but mental health, economic well-being, and social harmony also come to mind. Beyond these casualties there have been disruptions: to our work rhythms, our social rhythms, our travel rhythms, and, of course, our church rhythms.
For Presbytery de Cristo, one of the casualties, (at least for the 2020 – 2021 program year) is the Tucson Borderlands Young Adult Volunteers program (TBYAV). The Stated Clerk of General Assembly place a travel moratorium on all General Assembly staff, which means the YAVs are unable to travel to their work destinations. The YAV program nationally was originally pushed back to October, then January, and finally it has been postponed until August 2021. Yikes!
Fortunately for Presbytery de Cristo we have an experienced, creative, and resilient TBYAV leader in Alison Wood. Ali and the TBYAV board are unwilling to accept that the young adult volunteers who had graduated college with hopes of giving “a year of their life for a lifetime of service” would not have the opportunity to participate in this life changing year. The TBYAV board is required to shut down the YAV program for the coming year but that doesn’t mean ministry can’t happen. Enter SWERV.
SWERV stands for SouthWest Emergent Resource Volunteers. It is a ministry of Presbytery de Cristo, which has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the TBYAV board to provide the formal structure through which young adults can come to Tucson and the Borderlands region to volunteer as presbytery level mission co-workers. They will live in community, work in the community, discern God’s calling upon their lives, and grow more deeply aligned with the rule of God’s sovereign love in who they are. I. Am. So. Psyched!
Presbytery de Cristo will provide the legal structure through with the SWERVettes will live, work, receive a small living-expenses stipend, and insurance. The TBYAV board will provide staff leadership, program, housing, and pay staff salaries associated with SWERV. Together “we” are making this happen, and by “we” I really mean Alison and her board, who are amazing in making this happen so quickly and so well. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Let me end by paraphrasing one of my favorite movies, Braveheart: The Covacalypse may be able to take away our rhythms, but it can never take away our desire to serve Jesus!
Grace and peace,