“I care about the passion. Why is this person getting up every single day and doing the hard work that’s in front of them?”
Mitch Mealey asked that question as he spent his summer meeting with people who work for churches and nonprofit organizations. He heard their stories and learned about their work, and then translated what he heard into graphic design to help them better communicate with their communities. He did this as a participant in Summerbridge, an eight- to 12-week service program for young adults from a diverse cultural background.
Funded by Mennonite Central Committee and local Anabaptist churches, Summerbridge invites congregations and applicants to get creative about how to better connect their church and their community. Mealey served with his home congregation, River of Life Mennonite Brethren Church in Riverview, N.B.
“What fuels me? Graphic design, a little,” Mealey says. “But more, [I want to] give people tools to make things better for them. [I want to] get people to a place where they can be open and honest about who they are and then be a blessing in some way.”
Mealey believes that God is the source of creativity, citing Exodus 31 where God bestows gifts of craftsmanship to build his temple.
“God deliberately wants people to be able to communicate in that way [creatively],” he says.
And when Mealey is collecting information for designing logos or letterhead, he is also listening and asking God how to bless the person he is hearing. He describes being present and listening as one nonprofit worker shared a desire to help their colleagues express themselves; he offered peace when he shared parts of his own parenting story with a church employee.
Mealey encourages people who are considering applying for Summerbridge to “go for it.”
“[It’s] a chance to explore and test things out. A time set apart to really play with the idea of what does it mean to be a builder in the kingdom of God.”
Learn more about Summerbridge here
—Christina Dunfield, MCC Maritimes