So here’s the deal…

I’m going to be a YAV! Seven months ago, I had no idea what that was. Now I’m preparing to move to Northern Ireland for a year of service. I am SO excited and just a little bit scared. (Packing: how’s that going to work? It took 3 SUVs and a trailer to get my belongings back home from Ole Miss….)

I am going to be a Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) with the Presbyterian Church (USA). I will be serving for a full year in Belfast, Northern Ireland – leaving on August 18, 2014.

Here’s some questions people are asking me (and I’m asking myself, occasionally…)

  • Why am I serving with the Presbyterian Church? (The Episcopal Church does have a similar program.) I have been actively involved with the Presbyterian Church working in Montreat for the past six summers, and First Presbyterian Church in Oxford, MS gave me a paid job to sing in their choir. Mutual Montreat/Ole Miss friends led me to Ukirk, the Presbyterian campus ministry at Ole Miss. However, it’s still a struggle to remember to say “debts and debtors” in the Lord’s Prayer!
  • What will I be doing?  Specifically I don’t know yet, but I should know more soon (keep following my blog!) I know I’ll be in Belfast, and I know this (from the YAV website):

The emphasis in this program site is on learning through service. Northern Ireland is primarily known for its tragic history of violence and inter-community conflict. These “Troubles,” as they are commonly known, have left behind serious economic, emotional and spiritual needs, particularly in urban/working-class districts. Volunteers work in support of faith-based efforts to address this legacy and will have the opportunity to see various responses from the churches and other organizations to community development, peace building and reconciliation. Each volunteer is placed both with a congregation and a community-based ministry, often, though not always, in the same district.

  • What will I being doing with the Music Ed/Voice degree from Ole Miss? I hope I’ll be getting a lot of experience working with children! And you know me – I’ll find a choir somewhere. Most likely I’ll be assigned to a church and a community center.

Here’s the kicker: I hope that you will consider making a gift or pledge toward my financial support. The timing is critical as I need to raise $2,000 by July 1st (and $2,000 more by January 1, 2015).

Want to join me on my journey? It’s easy to do: all donations are tax deductible! Here’s how you can support me:

  •  Your Prayers:  Pray for me and for the people with whom I will live and serve this year.
  •  Your Interest in My Year of Service:  Follow my experience by reading my blog ( Ask me to speak at your church when I return.
  •  Your Financial Gifts:  Give a tax-deductible contribution as a one-time gift or in installments over the course of my year of service. You may give online at Or checks can be sent to the address below. Please write Allison Stewart and ECO # E210107 on the memo line of the checks. Make checks out to PC(USA).

Presbyterian Church (USA)
Remittance Processing
P.O. Box 643700
Pittsburg, PA 15264-3700

“…music is about as physical as it gets: your essential rhythm is your heartbeat; your essential sound, the breath. We’re walking temples of noise, and when you add tender hearts to this mix, it somehow lets us meet in places we couldn’t get to any other way.”
― Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith


5 thoughts on “So here’s the deal…

  1. Allison, I am so excited for you! Unfortunately I am not in a position to help financially at this time. I will however be praying for you – and your parents! God be with u – I know He has great things in store for you. Oh, and about that leaving one denomination for another, I get it. I still cross myself after communion and I now attend a United Methodist church! Love you!

  2. Allison. I work with Fran Woodruff. I am praying for your trip. One of my daughters just served a year teaching English in Colombia South America. My other daughter attend Princeton seminary and plans on serving as a missionary. Grace and peace to you. Look forward to the updates

  3. Allison, so glad to find out more about how to support you this year. I know your adventure will be amazing and no doubt will help you grow in all sorts of ways. Be open and know that lots of us will be praying for you regularly. Years ago while I was in college I spent 7 weeks in the Belfast area as part of an ecumenical team working with Protestant and Catholic children helping them get to know one another as people without the labels. You just may return with an accent! 🙂

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