Long trip offers new experience
By Woody Woodrick
Fredrick McKinley wanted a new experience this summer, so he looked around and found one.
McKinley, a Jackson native, will spend the summer working as youth ministry intern at St. John United Methodist Church in Anchorage, Alaska.
“I’m excited and nervous at the same time,” McKinley said before leaving for Alaska. He began his duties on May 22. “I feel like this is the place I’m supposed to go, and I’ll see what God has in store for me.”
McKinley, a senior at Mississippi College, has spent the past two years as a youth intern at Galloway Memorial UMC in Jackson. While he expects a new experience, McKinley said growing up a member of Wells Memorial UMC has prepared him well for going thousands of miles away.
“The members at Wells have prayed and discerned for me,” he said. “If I didn’t have a second family like that, I don’t know where I would be.”
At Galloway, McKinley worked along side the Rev. David Carroll, who said McKinley has a good personality for the kind of adventure he’s anticipating.
“Fredrick’s greatest quality, I think, is that he is seldom intimidated by new situations,” said Carroll, who has been appointed to Alta Woods UMC following Annual Conference.
“In fact he always seems to be looking forward to new adventures. With us at Galloway, he has snow skied and backpacked for the first time. Over the last few years he has traveled outside the United States several times. He is always looking for opportunities that will cause him to grow both spiritually and in his preparedness for ministry. He has a contagious laugh and relates well with our young people.”
McKinley said St. John UMC in Anchorage has about 750 members and about 55 youth in its program. He said he’s eager to get to know where the students in Alaska are spiritually after working with the Galloway youth.
“The (Galloway) kids are unique because of the maturity of their spiritual walk,” he said. “They go out of their way to make folks welcome.”
Carroll said McKinley could be exposed to several cultures that will benefit his plans for ministry. “The Alaska experience will widen his horizons and broaden his experience. There are distinct cultural differences between the South and Alaska, particularly if he has the opportunity to work with some of the indigenous people,” Carroll said.