Urban Ministry = Genuine Connection

Each week we are committing to share 1 new story from the CSM community about a trip, or a person, or an experience that changed a life. This week we heard from Tim Pullin, a Washington DC City Host in 2012.

As a student of government and a politics nerd, I was excited to be in D.C. where so many decisions that impact the daily lives of millions of people here in the U.S. and abroad. As a Christian, I was excited about the opportunity to serve God by serving others.

I was definitely shocked at how Washington D.C. was truly a tale of two cities. Throughout my time in the city, the groups I led were able to truly experience urban life and hear the stories of those who were struggling and had overcome challenging situations: domestic violence, poverty, addiction, trafficking. Sadly, these issues continue to plague our nation and world today. However, in each group I was filled with hope and optimism by how radically the experience of service changed students minds (and adult leaders too!) in just one short week.

I think one of the most powerful things that CSM (and urban ministry) taught me is the ability to genuinely connect with others. Too often, we put up barriers (real and social) to genuine connection. Fundamentally, we are all human and children of God. Our ability to come together and put aside whatever differences we may have, real or perceived, is part of our call to be a united church.

The many organizations and ministry partners I worked with taught me valuable lessons that I apply even to this day as an attorney. Helping others through difficult times of loss or grief can be challenging especially when your background is very different. However, the love and grace of the Lord transcends all of this and it is Him that we can do all things.

This year, CSM is celebrating 30 years of ministry and I could not be more grateful for the opportunity that I've gotten because of that ministry.  My favorite passage that I taught to all of my groups comes from 1 Timothy Chapter 6. It’s about fighting the good fight. In today’s society, conflict is rampant. Intolerance and injustice appear to be on the rise and society seems to be at odds with one another about everything. In my role as a lawyer, I’m constantly having to help people navigate their issues which can be contentious. However, regardless of the situation, we are called to recognize a higher power. He is the Lord and the giver of Light in the darkness. DC showed me that light as I had never seen it before.

Tim Pullin Washington DC City Host, 2012