Iris Marie Gadsden hopes to open her own nonprofit someday to help those in her community who are struggling financially or emotionally.
"Growing up in the United Methodist faith has helped me recognize the importance of serving those in less-fortunate situations," she said. "My faith and the ministries I have been a part of have inspired me to serve others though nonprofit management as a career. I think our faith includes the principle of service, and as people of God, it is our job to love and minister to others as Jesus did."
A student at Erskine College in South Carolina, Gadsden received a World Communion Sunday scholarship. She said the money helped her and her family afford the private Christian college.
Growing up in West Columbia, South Carolina, Gadsden said she soaked up the arts curriculum at her school. She was drawn to acting and community service.
|Working on Habitat for Humanity House in November 2016.
"I was blessed with many opportunities to do both, such as performing through school groups and being able to serve the hungry through my church. I always strived for perfection in any and everything I did, which pushed me to strive for higher goals," she said.
Those goals included excelling in school and nurturing her passions. She graduated from the summer program of South Carolina Governor's School and has had the opportunity to travel for theatrical performances and serve others through her home church, Wesley United Methodist Church.
She also traveled to Honduras recently with the South Carolina United Methodist Conference and helped work on a Habitat for Humanity house with fellow classmates at Erskine.
Attending a Christian school has allowed Gadsden to grow her faith on campus.
"The Christian community at my school continues to remind me of God's love toward others and his willingness to constantly serve those around him," she said. "The religious emphasis will support my foundation of God's love, which will help me in ministering to those in need."
She said the church should continue to support the World Communion Sunday offering to help others like her pursue their dreams and make a difference in the lives of others.
"I think God has a plan for everyone, even if they can't or don't see it currently," she said. "Sometimes, we can go through situations where we can lose our faith because of our struggles. I want to be a support system, not only through material things but spreading the Word of Christ and his faithfulness to others in my career."
Julie Dwyer, general church content editor, United Methodist Communications
One of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings of The United Methodist Church, World Communion Sunday calls the church to reach out to all people and model diversity among God's children. The special offering provides World Communion Scholarships, the Ethnic Scholarship Program and the Ethnic In-Service Training Program.
When you give generously on World Communion Sunday, you equip gifted, qualified students from around the globe to become the world changers God created them to be. Give now.