Joanne Marie Davis is a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church serving as a Church and Community Worker. She is project coordinator of the Hope in the Mountains Ministry in the Southern District of the West Virginia Annual Conference where she mobilizes the laity of this district for outwardly focused ministries.
Church and Community Workers respond to God’s call to ministry among the poor and disenfranchised in rural and urban areas throughout the United States. They work to change the social inequities of poverty, racial injustice, and domestic violence.
Joanne is originally from Minnesota but has lived, studied, and worked in Missouri, where she earned a Juris Doctor (Doctor of Law) degree from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis and where she is a member of Maplewood United Methodist Church. From 1993 through 1999 she served as a Church and Community Worker and staff attorney at the United Methodist Legal Assistance Ministry in St. Louis.
Joanne has a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master of Divinity degree from Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, graduating magna cum laude. She has worked for the City of St. Louis, the Brown Shoe Company, and Kingdom House, a United Methodist-related community center in St. Louis.
Raised in a home antagonistic to religion, Joanne found her way to spirituality through the 12-Step Program for children of alcoholics. The 12-Step experience led her to Kirkwood United Methodist Church in St. Louis. She served as a pastor during her seminary years and after but would follow a call into lay ministry and mission.
“My time in the pastorate was extremely valuable for it taught me as nothing else could that the vast amount of ministry done in Jesus’ name is done by the laity,” she says. “Such ministry is truly an expression of love for God that is the equal of any experienced and expressed by clergy. I also learned that one of the greatest joys in life is to use the gifts you are given for the healing of God’s people.”
Joanne has a great appreciation for Eastern Christianity, “which teaches us that we can never say what God is, but only what God is not. I find that the great Christian mystics speak most deeply to me.” She has also been strongly influenced in social ministry by persons such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Dorothy Day of the Catholic Worker Movement.
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