By Dr. Larry R. Hygh, Jr.
"I was born and raised a Methodist and had this feeling from when I was little that I wanted to do something cool when I grew up," says Margaret "Maggie" Lohmeyer. That "something cool" for Lohmeyer is being a Global Mission Fellow of the General Board of Global Ministries working as a field coordinator for the Jubilee Initiative in the Bridges District.
Lohmeyer says she felt a "call to mission" back in 2013 after traveling with her church on a mission trip to Mozambique to dig wells. A native of St. Louis, Missouri, she is a member of The Gathering United Methodist Church in the Missouri Annual Conference.
Lohmeyer began a career in corporate and private event planning. "I was definitely not happy in my job," she says. "As a young person, it's important to realize that your life goal doesn't have to be to graduate, and make money, and stay put…God is going to provide for you, and you can be taken to some pretty amazing places." She added, "It's listening to what your heart is called to do."
The Jubilee Initiative, a ministry of the Bridges District, is a social justice ministry and partnership between local churches and the United Methodist Federal Credit Union (UMFCU). Their goal is connect the church with the community, and assist the working poor, by creating sustainable loans to combat predatory payday lending. The loans are provided through the UMCFU with a five percent interest rate, and no fees. The program also includes financial mentoring.
Lohmeyer says an additional five to six churches will start the program in the next six months. "We're working on a master manual so that churches have a good document to get them started and we've also reached out to more churches in San Francisco," she says. "There is definitely progress…I'm quickly learning about the time processes in the church."
Jeff Holder, co-chair of the Jubilee Initiative committee and the work site supervisor, says, "She's reached out to so many churches in the Bridges District to plant the seeds of the program." He added, "We're hoping not only to plant seeds, but have a closer relationship, a mentoring relationship, with the churches who want to participate…Maggie seems like the perfect person to be able to do that."
Lohmeyer says that Numbers 11:23 has been a foundational scripture during the transition from Missouri to California, "The Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord’s power limited? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not.”
Lohmeyer earned a Bachelor of Science degree in hospitality management form the University of Missouri-Columbia, and has worked in the hospitality and food industries and for the St. Louis Science Center.
In addition to her placement with the Jubilee Initiative, she has been able to volunteer in various capacities in the San Francisco area including Glide UMC. "I feel very blessed that I was placed in San Francisco."
The Global Mission Fellows program takes young adults ages 20 to 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. Global Mission Fellows in the United State work through geographic, or organizational affiliates.
Lohmeyer will serve with the Jubilee Initiative until July of 2018.
*Hygh is director of communications for the California-Nevada Conference comprised of 370 churches and 78,000 United Methodists in Northern California and Northern Nevada.