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Annie Solis Escalante: hoping to connect church and society

Annie Solis Escalante (holding the white bag) attends a United Nations AIDS meeting with church leaders as part of the fifth World Council of Churches Assembly. Photo: Courtesy of Annie Solis Escalante

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Scholarship allows women to make a difference in their communities.

The World Communion Scholarship Program of The United Methodist Church supports United Methodist students and students who are directly related to Global Ministries mission partners so that they may carry out their master’s or doctoral studies at universities or seminaries. What follows is an example of how this scholarship program has impacted the life of Annie Solis Escalante.

This scholarship gave Annie Solis Escalante the support she needed to complete a master’s degree in social management at the Cayetano Heredia University in Peru. Not long after her graduation, the Leadership Development Office recommended that she apply to be a Global Mission Fellow, a young adult program that could continue her exposure and build her experience in working to support marginal communities. A Global Mission Fellow since 2012, Solis Escalante put her education to use immediately by developing and managing projects addressing maternal and child health, human sexuality and HIV/AIDS with the Health and Healing Program of the World Council of Churches in Geneva.

“That experience helped me to understand the current needs of churches and the boundaries that need to be crossed to reach justice and peace,” she said. “Social justice issues are not yet properly addressed by churches, especially at the grassroots level. It seems like there is a divorce between churches and society.”

To address that gap, she plans to return to school to study theology and social development. “To have a theological and biblical basis will help me work with church leaders and strengthen the presence of churches in society as a prophetic voice. Being a World Communion scholar means being part of a big fellowship of Christians trained and committed to transforming themselves and the communities they serve,” she said.

Now in the second stage of her Global Mission Fellowship, Solis Escalante is serving back in her home context in social work projects through the Methodist Church of Peru. Those projects include strengthening and enlarging the role of women and girls in the church and society, focusing on health, reduction of violence and community organization.

“I hope that other Global Ministries’ scholars can enroll in the Global Mission Fellows program and help the church on addressing the different social issues in an effective way,” she said. Her studies and her work as a mission intern tells her that God equips people with the courage, patience and skills to help people get better opportunities in life.

Sandra Brands, writer and regular contributor to www.umcmission.org

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.

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