I am BA Miskowiec, a spiritual director intern with WVIS and a certified lay minister within the Nine Rivers District, The United Methodist Church, WV Conference. In addition, I am working on a Masters in Theopoetics and Writing at Bethany Theological Seminary. Theopoetics is a way of thinking about God through non-rational or non-logical means, such as literature and the arts. Although Theopoetics is a fairly new “academic” field, the concepts are not new to those in spiritual direction.
In my first semester of graduate school, I had a class on Theological Reflection. We students were asked to reflect on the intersection of a theological concept and our personal lives. I chose to explore how The United Methodist Church sacraments of holy communion and baptism intersect with my advocacy and activism in the social justice area. Students were encouraged to express conclusions in an artistic, as well as academic, medium.
My thesis was that through the UMC sacraments, we are united with Christ and with each other as the Body of Christ. Being one with Christ, Christ’s priorities become our priorities. Christians continue Christ’s practice of offering healing and wholeness to all persons. United Methodists make that offer through their baptismal vow to “resist evil, injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.”
My artistic interpretation was the design of a Social Justice Quilt. The center panel of the quilt depicts a communion table and the waters of baptism. Surrounding that are quilt squares expressing some of the social justice issues the Church is called to address. Surrounding the social justice squares are more traditional patterns, indicating that our work is hemmed in by our history and beliefs. United Methodists in West Virginia and Virginia contributed squares to the quilt, an indication of our connection in Christ and within The United Methodist Church
At the West Virginia Annual Conference in June 2023, Bishop Sandra Steiner-Ball accepted the gift of the quilt and consecrated it as a spiritual formation and educational tool. The quilt was displayed on Peace with Justice Sunday, June 4, at my home church, St. Marks UMC in Charleston. Reservations for the “Traveling Quilt Show” are being taken. This will be a time of encouraging and empowering churches to speak out against injustice.
WVIS Spiritual Director Intern