Before starting their fall semester classes, Perkins students had an opportunity to venture out into the Dallas community to serve others. Ministry Dallas, held Aug. 17-18, took participants to Genesis Women’s Shelter and to Lovers Lane United Methodist Church, both in Dallas, to volunteer and meet ministry leaders

“This is a favorite annual event that gives students hands-on experience and a chance to meet face-to-face with people doing important and exciting ministry,” said Tracy Anne Allred, Assistant Dean of Student Life and Director of Community Engagement at Perkins. “Dallas is such a large, diverse community; we wanted to offer students a way to get at least a glimpse of some of the wonderful ministry that’s going on.”

The two-day event began at a secure location of Genesis Women’s Shelter. Twelve people, including two Perkins staff members, participated.  The address is unpublished, to protect domestic violence victims who come there for safety. Participants heard a presentation about Genesis’ work to address domestic violence and toured the campus, including the emergency shelter and Annie’s House. Leading the program were Genesis staff members Nicole Berg, Volunteer Coordinator; Amy Norton, Sr. Director of Fund Development; and Perkins alum Alissa Lindsay Newton (M.A.M, ‘18), Director of Fund Management.

On the second day, 15 participants (including one faculty and three staff) visited Lover’s Lane United Methodist in Dallas. Their day started with a volunteer project, packing food for the church’s pantry, followed by a contemporary worship service and a Q&A with the church’s staff.  The group then traveled to Lover’s Lane UMC’s Walnut Hill campus for lunch and to talk about the adoption/merger and plans for that campus.  Leading that day’s program were recent Perkins alum Melissa Nelms (M. Div., ‘22) and alum Randall Lucas (M.A.M., ’19; M.Div. ‘22).

Marcell Silva Steuernagel, Assistant Professor of Church Music at Perkins, was also on hand as the group learned about modern worship.

Students reflected on the program afterward; here are a few of their insights:

“I’m inspired to give back. In the short time I’ve been at Perkins, the instructors, staff and students maintain a positive attitude that encourages me to give back everything I’ve been blessed to receive. It’s a contagious atmosphere.” — Master of Divinity student Linda Bell

“It really is true that the church should be the arms and legs of Christ. Instead of being overly concerned with individual “salvation” I feel our duty as Christians should be to provide dignity along with equality and doing that really does require that we get in the ‘thick’ of the issues that surround us – not with just donations, either. My goal is to be more aware of places where I can be a servant by walking alongside of women in particular.” — Master of Theological Studies student Margie Dess


Photos courtesy of Tracy Anne Allred.