Melissa Shirley

Please reflect on your participation in the life of your congregation, the diocese, and the larger community:

The Church has always been my home, and its people my family. I don’t know a time when I have not been involved in some way in the life of the Church. I have served in numerous roles and on many committees. More importantly than my resume, however, is the passion it has helped me to develop to live out my Baptismal Covenant. COVID-19 has promoted great introspection in many of us. This summer, I had a (profound to me, maybe not so profound to some of you) realization as I participated in anti-racism trainings and book studies: I have spent the last ten years or so learning how privileged I am to have voice and power in society; voice and power granted to me by accident of birth and my education. I would like to spend my next decades using my voice and power to address injustices and to benefit the Church.

Why do you feel God is calling you to serve in this position?

I was fortunate to attend a webinar with Mayor Pete Buttigieg this summer as he addressed the Deputies and Alternate Deputies for General Convention next summer. Mayor Pete spoke about governance being a *ministry*. This really resounded with me. Committee work, the work of serving on a governing body, is not just something to do or a bunch of meetings to attend, it is a calling. It requires us to dig into the parts of an institution that most people don’t see, it challenges us to live out our faith not only for ourselves but in the decisions we make on others’ behalf. Serving on organizational committees and governing boards allows me to use my skills to serve God in the Church and participate in the fight for a just society. In the past three years on Diocesan Council, we have begun to develop systems and patterns of checking the Church’s actions against its mission. I seek a second term so that I can continue to push to minister to the Diocese of Southern Ohio.