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Young adult justice intern serves Faith Action Network

Stephen Boyles, one of the UCC young adult justice interns in the conference this year, has found his time working with the Faith Action Network (FAN) of Washington eye opening in several ways.

FAN starf

Stephen Boyles, second from left, joins FAN staff Paul Benz, Jackie O’Ryan and Kelle Rose carrying the FAN sign in a Walmart protest.
Photos courtesy of the Faith Action Network

“I didn’t know it was so easy to call a state legislator and make an appointment,” he said of his experience in preparing for FAN’s Interfaith Advocacy Day on Feb. 20 in Olympia.

As he has registers people, he has finds their legislative district and called their legislators’ offices to set appointments.

“It’s exciting to talk with legislators on the phone,” Boyles said.  “It has improved my interpersonal skills.”

Preparing for that day, he has also emailed information to those who register to  help them know more about issues the Faith Action Network is working on so they can be informed and raise them in their meetings with the legislators.

“I am coming to understand behind-the-scenes activities involved in social justice organization,” he said.

Stephen has been helping with the Wage Theft campaign FAN is doing with the Stop Wage Theft Coalition.

In the fall, he helped plan a Fall Summit in at First Baptist Church in Seattle, drawing together people who are in the Faith Action Network as “advocating congregations.”

“We trained members of congregations on what it means to be an advocate,” he said.

Stephen is pleased FAN surpassed its goal of having 60 advocating congregations as they begin 2013 with 63.

He chose to participate in the UCC’s Young Adult Internship after graduating from Heidelberg University in Tiffen, Ohio, in 2012 with a major in political science and a minor in religion, because it involved building leadership skills and living in community with three other interns. 

He values the opportunity to share and reflect.  He also values attending Keystone UCC, where social justice is integral to its life.

“I thought faith and social justice were related, but living it this year, it’s more than a belief now,” he said, adding that living simply on a stipend of $400 a month has been challenging.  Next year he hopes to do an internship in direct service, painting a house or serving in a soup kitchen.

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Copyright February 2013 © Pacific Northwest Conference United Church News


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