Gift of Hope Scholarship recipient Kiersten Telzerow is thankful to The United Methodist Church for the opportunity to follow her father's example as a pastor.
"Some denominations do not give women the opportunity to be leaders," said Kiersten, a graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion. "The United Methodist Church not only offers positions for women but [also] supports and empowers us. This has given me a platform to understand and recognize that the Holy Spirit does not give gifts based on gender. Because of this, I pursued my calling."
Kiersten majored in Christian ministries with a minor in leadership. Keeping her future congregation healthy is the centerpiece of her education. She could not have attended Indianan Wesleyan without the Gift of Hope Scholarship made possible through United Methodist Student Day contributions.
"The Gift of Hope Scholarship allows students to attend schools that equip them with an education essential for being a leader in today's culture," said Kiersten. "[I learned] about conflict resolutions, transformational leadership and other areas that helps me take care of my parishioners."
Kiersten was already leading, on and off campus. She served as the director of ministries on campus for two years. Her work included bereavement care for students. She led Operation Christmas Child for her region in December 2012 and served as a liaison between Indiana Wesleyan and Samaritan's Purse. Her efforts resulted in 400 boxes of gifts shipped to children around the world.
"I know I [made] a difference in the world, one person at a time," she said. "At Indiana Wesleyan, I've been taught to be a 'world changer,' but that doesn't happen overnight. In fact, it is difficult for one person to change the entire world. Thus, I've learned that as a leader, a Christian and a [pastor], I can change the circle of influence that I have – one or two people at a time.
"By the power of the Holy Spirit, I truly believe that one can change the world by transforming the people in their circle of influence, which can then double, triple and continue to multiply until it reaches the rest of the population."
Kirsten is a licensed pastor at Wesleyan United Methodist Church, Washington, DC. She is working on her Master of Divinity at Asbury Theological Seminary and working full time at National Community Church, Washington, D.C.
Barbara Dunlap-Berg, general church content editor, United Methodist Communications
One of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings of The United Methodist Church, United Methodist Student Day calls the church to support students as they prepare for life in uniting faith with knowledge. The special offering provides scholarships for qualified United Methodist applicants.
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