Hillary Taylor is a mission intern with the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church serving with Branches, the social justice and economic empowerment ministry of the South East District of the Florida Annual Conference.
Mission interns serve half of their three-year terms in international assignments and half in their home countries. Young adult mission service through Global Ministries expands participants’ mission vision and offers faith contexts for the use of skills.
Hillary was commissioned in August 2012 and initially served at Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. The seminary is the primary school for training leadership for the Methodist Church of Southern Africa.
Branches was set up in 1973, at first as a community organizing program. Since 2000, it has focused on developing and implementing programs that address the root causes of poverty. It engages families, young adults, and seniors in a wide range of social, financial, legal, and employment ministries.
Hillary is from Columbia, South Carolina and is a member of the Shandon United Methodist Church there and holds associate membership in the Lee Road United Methodist Church in Taylors, South Carolina. Taylors is near Greenville, where Hillary earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Furman University. Psychology was her major and poverty studies her minor subject.
“I felt a call to ministry at the age of 13 on a Shandon Church youth retreat,” she says, adding that the call evolved into a passion for service as the “hands and feet of Jesus” to persons with physical, emotional, spiritual, and psychological needs. She was active in the Wesley Fellowship at Furman and in the Vocational Ministry Scholarship group, which puts strong emphasis on preparation for professional ministry, experience that was valuable in her work at Seth Mokitimi.
During college, she worked as a tutor in a middle school, a crisis call-line manager, and an intern in the chaplain’s office. “I was also blessed to study abroad, in southern Africa, where I learned about global-health inequality, the effects of poverty on child development, and the economics and history of South Africa.” She says that her call to mission can be explained by the Zulu/Xhosa word “ubuntu,” which formally means “I am human because you are human,” and which Hillary explains as the idea that “a person is a person through other persons.”
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: South Carolina Annual Conference
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