Interviewed By: Caela Collins
Who is Miranda Wilson?
My name is Miranda Wilson, I’m 24 (25 on March 31!) and I’m from Norwalk, Connecticut, my home parish being Saint Luke’s Darien. I’m currently a year into my placement as a member of the Young Adult Service Corps of the Episcopal Church (YASC).
My placement is in Geneva, Switzerland, where I am working as the Communications Officer for Emmanuel Episcopal Church, as well as serving as a Geneva Additional Representative at UN Geneva for the DFMS (The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America).
My days include everything from running social media pages, creating service bulletins and email newsletters, to managing event logistics and taking part in meetings at the UN!
What is YASC?
The Young Adult Service Corps, or YASC, is a program for Episcopalians ages 21-30 that places applicants in different dioceses in the Anglican Communion around the world. Depending on their interests and skills, participants can work at churches, refugee centers, transitional housing, schools, and various other places connected to each diocese. In my YASC cohort, there are 10 of us, with placements ranging from Costa Rica, Italy, and Sri Lanka!
Where were you placed?
Originally, I was assigned a placement in Oman, but due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, I ended up instead in Switzerland. I’ve found it really exciting to be living in Geneva—it’s truly an international place, with so many international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and non-profits, all working to make the world a better place. It’s definitely been a bit of a challenge getting my French up to speed, but one that I’ve enjoyed! Working at Emmanuel has been a really great way to integrate myself in both the local and the expatriate communities.
In fact, Emmanuel is the only Episcopal Church in all of Switzerland (8.8 million people)! If you compare that to Connecticut (3.6 million people), which has over 150 Episcopal parishes, that’s a big difference.
I think this makes the local Episcopal community value Emmanuel even more, due to the lack of specifically Episcopal worship in Switzerland. It’s really exciting, as a young Episcopalian, to see such a vibrant Episcopal community flourishing outside of the United States.
From your point of view, what are some strengths of The Episcopal Church that empower you as a young Episcopalian?
As a younger member of the Episcopal Church, I think the Church is doing a lot right. One important aspect the Church has done well in is issuing public statements against injustice and inequality in our world. I was heartened by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s statement against the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June of 2022. It is important to me, as a young woman, to know that the Church I support also supports me in my right to have access to healthcare. I would not feel nearly as welcome or comfortable in a church that did not outwardly express support for women in that manner.
I also find it important that the Episcopal Church recognizes the marginalization and oppression of LGTBQ+ folks, as well as racial discrimination against Black, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, and other minority groups. As long as these statements continue to be followed up with thoughtful, meaningful action, this is truly a step in the right direction.
In what ways can The Episcopal Church connect more with the youth?
However, I still think The Episcopal Church could do more to actively encourage and involve youth and young adults. It’s important that we have just as many opportunities to be on committees and councils that are making decisions. Having more young adults in positions of leadership throughout the Church allows our voices to be heard, as well as representation in a setting that often skews towards the elder portion of a population.
“In this day and age, social activism is more important now than perhaps ever to young people as we face an overwhelming host of issues in our world, and we want a Church which not only supports us in that, but actively partakes in it as well.“
Describe how you adjusted to living in a different country:
In my life so far, I’ve been really lucky and privileged to have lived in various countries outside of the United States. While this comes with truly amazing experiences, adjusting frequently to life in a new country can be really challenging and exhausting. One common thread I’ve found in my experiences abroad has been the Episcopal Church.
When I lived in Thailand following high school, I didn’t have an Episcopal church near where I was living. That made me realize how I, unwittingly, took for granted the steadfast presence of my home parish, Saint Luke’s Darien, in my life growing up.
When I moved to Scotland for college, I looked specifically for an Episcopal church I could join. I became a Choral Scholar at St Andrews Episcopal Church in St Andrews, Scotland, and this provided me with an extra community throughout my time at school. Not only did I get to meet locals who weren’t necessarily students at the school, but I also became part of a warm, welcoming family of Episcopalians. My fellow choir members came to my musical and theatrical performances, gave me baked goods, and offered comfort and support during the COVID-19 pandemic. When I visit St Andrews now, the church is one of the places I’m most excited to go back to, because I know I will always be warmly welcomed by familiar and new faces.
Now that I am in Switzerland, having the Episcopal church here has only solidified my stance that having an Episcopal community while abroad is very important for me. There is something so beautiful, and also so comforting and familiar, about singing a favorite hymn from The 1982 Hymnal, or reciting The Nicene Creed both at home and thousands of miles away.
Wherever you go, The Episcopal Church is always the same, waiting to welcome you—how amazing is that?! Today, I’m enmeshed fully in the life of Emmanuel, learning French, attending meetings, workshops, and seminars at the United Nations, performing with a local Musical Theater group, traveling around Europe, and meeting amazing people from all over the world—I could not be more blessed to be a part of YASC and The Episcopal Church.