UMCom internship helps South Georgia student learn, grow, share

10/2/2017

Taylor Bush is pictured with her UMCom co-workers in their Nashville, Tenn. office. Pictured in the front row, left to right, are: Kathy Noble, editor of Interpreter Magazine; Fran Coode Walsh, Director, Member Communication; Taylor Bush; Chris Fenoglio, Manager, Web Content. Pictured in the back row left to right, are: Joe Iovino, Manager, Member Content Development, and Tony Cook, Freelance Video Editor. Photo courtesy of Fran Walsh, UMCom
By Kara Witherow, Editor

This summer, more than 400 miles from home, Taylor Bush was on her own in a strange, new city. The Bainbridge, Ga. native and University of Georgia sophomore had moved to Nashville, Tenn. for an internship with United Methodist Communications (UMCom), and the opportunity made her both excited and anxious.

“I had never been to Nashville before, I had no friends there, and it was uncomfortable at first, and so far away,” said the Bainbridge First United Methodist Church member, “but … I knew I was supposed to be there for a reason.”

As an entertainment and media major with a religion minor, Bush had looked for a summer internship that would expose her to jobs within her field. Since high school she’s felt a calling into ministry, so she also hoped to get a feel for what it would be like to work in a church setting.

“My plan was to find a way to use my skills and the things I enjoy doing and use them in the church,” she said.

Video production is her main interest, and she got a lot of hands-on experience during her UMCom internship. She produced a video about a Powder Springs, Ga. car care ministry, another that shared a back-to-school prayer, and created an online quiz that tested the taker’s knowledge of some notable leaders of The United Methodist Church. She also wrote an article, “Embrace the place: God met me where I didn’t want to go,” that was published online at umc.org, and wrote several brief articles for Interpreter magazine.

As the communications agency for The United Methodist Church, UMCom shares the Church’s story with the world and is the official news gathering and distribution agency of the denomination. As such they have a full studio, a strong production staff, and a news service – basically everything a media company would have – and offer opportunities to write, participate in video shoots, social media coordination, and more.

“A lot of times people have a great love of the Church, an interest in the Church, and they want to share the great message of the Church, but they aren’t exactly sure how they might use that gift – Taylor is a great example of this,” said Fran Walsh, content supervisor at United Methodist Communications and Bush’s supervisor. “They’re not sure they want to be in a pulpit but they think they might want to serve the church. So that’s a good use of an internship.”

More than just real-world work experience, Bush’s six-week stint at UMCom gave her an opportunity to grow and strengthen her faith and see how lay United Methodists faithfully live out their callings in the workplace every day.

“The people I worked with made it very apparent in their daily lives that they were working at UMCom not because it was a good job or because they needed a job, but because they care about what they are doing,” Bush said. “That was so inspiring to me … UMCom showed me that you can love work and that you can affect people through your job. They also showed me that you don’t have to work in a church to change people’s lives.”

Part of UMCom’s culture includes weekly chapel services and serving in the community through ministries like Meals on Wheels. That spiritually encouraging environment was uplifting to Bush, as was the agency’s desire to help its employees live out their faith.

“We’re not just here to crank out 600 words and get a bunch of views on the website,” Walsh said. “We’re here to live fully as Christians and to spread the Word. You can live your values here and be people who purvey hope.”

Bush, who was a 2014 Denman Evangelism Award recipient, returned to UGA in August to continue her college education and says that she will take what she’s learned, continue to grow her skills, and pray about what’s next.

“My plan is to use the gifts and talents God has given me to bring people to know God, to bring people to the Church,” she said. “Whether that’s in video production, whether that’s in article writing, or working in an actual church, I don’t know, but I plan to follow every opportunity I’m given to find where I fit in God’s plan.”

Interested in learning more about summer internships at UMCom? Express your interest by sending an email to hr@umcom.org.