faith in action

Meet Alli Koehler, our Church and Society intern

Alli Koehler is interning with Church and Society this spring semester in Washington, D.C., via Centre College in Danville, Kentucky.

Hi. My name is Alli Koehler, and I am honored to be interning with Church and Society for this spring semester.

I was born and raised in Franklin, Tennessee. As I grew up, I attended Calvary United Methodist Church in the Tennessee Annual Conference.

Today, as a college student returning home during school breaks to an ever-growing city, I am glad to have a place that always feels like home to me at Calvary UMC. Calvary UMC is the church my parents and grandparents have called “home” for decades as well.

With several United Methodist-ordained members in my family, and as a precedent of work with the United Methodist Church goes before me, I am grateful that Church and Society and its compassionate staff have allowed me to follow that precedent in Washington, D.C.

I am a junior at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, majoring in religion and minoring in spanish and education. This semester I am taking advantage of an opportunity that Centre College provides for students to study away in the nation’s capital.

The program helped me locate within the city an internship that would foster learning in my areas of interest. As I looked for an internship in the city, Church and Society came about as an unexpected answer to prayer. It links my passion for social justice to the greater purpose that I find in God, the one who is the perfect example of a justice activist.

As I work at Church and Society, I look forward to building a theological understanding of justice while discerning how my passion for justice might play out for me in the workplace. I have the privilege of doing that alongside Laura K. James, the program coordinator for the grassroots organizing team.

She and I have identified my passion for working alongside the marginalized people of my community and advocating for their education; specifically those of the deaf community, people with disabilities and individuals experiencing poverty.

Over the next few months, I am excited to invest in conversation with people who are incredibly thoughtful of our world and to and attend rallies, meetings, and other learning and advocacy opportunities related to disabilities and health care.

Once a week, I will reflect on the impact of this internship on my faith with my fellow interns and our internship coordinator, Katie Monfortte. On Sundays, I will enjoy the privilege of working at Christ Deaf United Methodist Church.

I am hopeful that this internship will concentrate my focus on the rights and needs of these marginalized groups of people, including their access to education and health care. Having grown up in a family of educators I view education as a tremendous asset.

Recently I worked at a summer day camp for students with disabilities, I shadowed at the Kentucky School for the Deaf, and studied in my “Poverty and Homelessness” class at Centre College. Through this all I learned how necessary the community, the challenge, and the support of education is for every student, as well as the security and protection of reliable, affordable, and quality health care.

I hope that Church and Society will teach and equip me to advocate for these necessities for all people.

I have chosen to participate in this internship because of its challenge and its alignment with my passions. Not only will Church and Society grow me in my faith, but it will also link me to a political arena with which I have had little previous involvement but is necessary for any serious activist.

I expect that Church and Society will also help me strengthen my gifts of personal communication and active listening, as well as my abilities to stand up for people.

I feel blessed to take part in this program within the nation’s capital, where fantastic diversity in identity and thought is at my fingertips. Hopefully, as I grow in this season at Church and Society, my awareness practices of the happenings in the capital will serve me when I return home to Calvary UMC and back to school in Kentucky.

The beautiful thing about God’s Kingdom is its vastness. It reaches all corners of the world, including the places I call “home.” I look forward to becoming involved in the grassroots efforts in my communities that are standing up for the rights and needs of God’s people locally.