Brown, Karis Elizabeth
Karis Elizabeth Brown is a US-2 Global Mission Fellow with the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, engaged in a two-year term of service.
The Global Mission Fellows program takes young adults ages 20-30 out of their home environments and places them in new contexts for mission experience and service. The program has a strong emphasis on faith and justice. Global Mission Fellows become active parts of their new local communities. They connect the church in mission across cultural and geographical boundaries. They grow in personal and social holiness and become strong young leaders working to build just communities in a peaceful world.
Karis is a member of Woodlawn United Methodist Church in Derby, Kansas, part of the Great Plains Annual Conference. Growing up, Karis was active in children’s and youth ministries. “From eighth grade on,” Karis said, “I put in over 300 hours of various volunteer work, leading children and youth, setting up decor and running events, and painting murals in the Youth Center.”
At the University of Kansas, Karis earned a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental studies, with minors in anthropology and journalism. A library and writing intern and a teaching assistant, Karis was a founding member of Rotaract KU, a service organization. Karis also was a Lilly Endowment intern at Westwood House at the University of Kansas.
“I feel a calling to heal emotional pain and to nourish the bodies of my community,” Karis said. “I’ve experienced a lot of pain in my life,” Karis opened up about various hardships and traumas that made early adulthood difficult.
“The one thing that kept me fed and alive during those times was my church: the love I received from my pastors and my peers, the grace I was given in times of stress, and the nourishment they provided me when I couldn’t nourish myself,” Karis said. “Because of what I’ve experienced and been given, I want to provide the same love and sanctuary to people also experiencing pain.”
Weekly lessons in worship, Karis said, “taught me how to love my community by providing the love of Christ to everyone, how to be patient with those who may stray and how to take care of myself so that I can take care of others. I know what it feels like to be unloved, to hurt and to suffer. I want to be the person who provides love, relief and comfort to those experiencing hardship.”
Karis delights in sharing love through food.
“Food,” Karis said, “is our common ground, a universal experience. It doesn’t matter if you disagree on every issue or don’t speak the same language. You can share love by giving a warm, delicious meal. To fill the belly of someone else is to fill their heart with love and joy, and everyone deserves to feel loved and nourished.
“I want to feed people: to fill their bellies with delicious food and to fill their hearts with love,” Karis added. “No human deserves to be hungry, especially not in a country that boasts being one of the richest in the world. I hope to experience the spiritual and physical nourishment of a community. Even if my impact is minor, any person I’m able to save from emotional pain or hunger pangs will make me feel fulfilled.”
A self-described storyteller, Karis hopes “to bridge the gap between scientific and academic communications and the nonacademic public to create a more well-informed populace. My overall goal is to make our world more accessible by using storytelling to facilitate fair and straightforward access to information, photos and videos of places, animals and peoples so that our nation can be more connected and, therefore, more understanding of the innumerable living communities on Earth.”