Caitlin Kastner is a Global Mission Fellow of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, engaged in a two-year term of service in the United States. She was commissioned in July 2015.
The Global Mission Fellows program takes young adults ages 20-30 out of their home environments and places them in new contexts for mission experience and service. The program grew out of the faith and justice emphases of the historic United Methodist US-2 and Mission Intern programs. Global Mission Fellows become parts of their new local communities. They connect the church in mission across cultural and geographical boundaries. They grow in personal and social holiness and become strong young leaders working to build just communities in a peaceful world.
Global Mission Fellows in the US work through geographic affiliates, such as United Methodist annual conferences, districts, local ministry networks, and educational institutions. Caitlin’s affiliate is the Florida Annual Conference, which has a long-standing relationship with the young adult mission programs of Global Ministries. US-based fellows engage in advocacy for justice; social services, notably for youth and the elderly; and leadership development for church and community
Caitlin is serving as a community relations coordinator with the South Florida Justice for Our Neighbors (SFJFON), operated by the South East District of the conference and related to South Florida Urban Ministries. National JFON is a network of ministries that provide support, advocacy, and immigration legal services through church-based clinics staffed by attorneys and volunteers. Caitlin works primarily as a clinic coordinator, and she also is involved in community relations. Global Mission Fellows in the US may move through a spectrum of ministries in the course of their two years.
Caitlin is from Kansas City, Missouri, where she is a member of Revolution United Methodist Church in the Missouri Annual Conference. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biblical studies and theology from Manhattan Christian College, Manhattan, Kansas, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas. She also holds a certificate in discipleship training from Youth with a Mission in Muizenberg, South Africa. Caitlin has worked as a graphic designer and as an associate art director for commercial firms.
Caitlin grew up in a non-denominational Christian church and remembers faith in Jesus Christ and mission service as integral parts of her young life. Her first mission trip was to Haiti when she was 12 years old. She continued an interest in theology and Christian service in high school and college, and through her own initiative spent six months in South Africa in the Discipleship Training School of Youth with a Mission. A part of that experience was living for several weeks with people in a poor, marginalized community, which turned her interest to ministries of community economic and social development.
The year after her study in South Africa, Caitlin organized a summer-long work team of college students to help local people start a business in that country. “It was a huge learning experience and I definitely made a lot of mistakes.” The business did not ultimately survive, but Caitlin says she learned a great deal about leadership and community development.
Her now husband, Andrew, was part of the South Africa trip. They married two years later and moved to Kansas City; there, they became active in Revolution United Methodist Church. “Revolution actively works with the poorest of the poor, and to be a part of a local church actually doing that, not just talking about it, is a wonderful experience.” The pastor of Revolution Church steered the couple toward the Global Mission Fellows program.
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