Safford, Miriam K.

Country: United States
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Serving At: Northwest Immigrants’ Rights Project
Home Country: United States

Miriam K. Safford is a US-2 Global Mission Fellow with the General Board of Global Ministries. Fellows serving on the US-2 track address the deep-rooted systems of injustice in the United States, working in a variety of areas, including food insecurity, migration/immigration, education and poverty.

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.  

With a Bachelor of Science degree in anthropology and religious studies from North Central College, Naperville, Illinois, Miriam is a member of First United Methodist Church of Crystal Lake, Illinois, related to the Northern Illinois Annual Conference.

“I am a youth volunteer, so I help out with Sunday school, youth group and youth outings such as retreats,” Miriam said. “I often lead small-group discussions among the youth and help with confirmation classes.”

A “preacher’s kid,” Miriam grew up in the Christian faith.

“My mother is a United Methodist pastor,” Miriam said. “I have always felt a strong sense of faith in the teachings of Jesus and a love of God and all of God’s creation. My faith journey has waxed and waned over the course of my life, but even in my moments of doubt, anger and hopelessness, I have felt myself carried by a presence other than my own.”

When Miriam’s father died suddenly, their faith was fundamentally changed.

“In the shock of his loss,” Miriam said, “I felt untethered and terrified of the vastness and power of the universe. I felt alone and isolated from God, and I didn’t know how to approach my relationship with God anymore. It took a class on Christology in the spring semester of my sophomore year for me to feel more comfortable reapproaching God. The class both reminded me of who Jesus is and expanded my beliefs about God. I was comforted by the idea that Jesus was grieving with me.”

Miriam continued, “My relationship with God is a living practice, both private and public. In order to serve God in public, I must first serve him in private, giving God my heart so that I may do what he asks of me in the world. I believe in John Wesley’s teaching of social holiness. In order truly to live for God, I must give of myself for others.

“Jesus calls his disciples to love one another, to feed the poor, clothe the naked and heal the sick. Not only is he the Savior; he also taught us how to live by example. He lived in solidarity with those he served as one of them and was an active member of his community as a spiritual leader and healer.”

Miriam said they have always felt a deep calling toward service and justice work and find great joy in being in community with others. “I believe that God desires for us to have positive and healthy relationships with each other,” Miriam said, “and to be able to rely on our communities.

“Living in solidarity with and in service of others fulfills our souls and brings healing to a broken world. My personal spiritual growth is deeply interconnected with service work. I believe that by being a part of the US-2 program, I will learn how to experience the power of God through others and will continue to align my personal spiritual practice with my public life.”