McKenzie Watson ’15: Four Years of ’Equipping’ is Paying Off

McKenzie with biblical studies faculty Dr. Steven Hunt (left) and Dr. Elaine Phillips (right)

McKenzie with biblical studies faculty Dr. Steven Hunt (left) and Dr. Elaine Phillips (right)

McKenzie Watson ’15 will pursue her passion during her first year after graduation. In September, she will begin service as a volunteer partner with Chicago-based Mission Year, a year-long program of urban missions and “a diverse community of Christians committed to loving God, loving people, and living out faith and justice in the city.” A biblical studies and French double major, McKenzie is excited to put into practice what her education has showed her. “A Gordon education is about equipping men and women of Christian character for lives of service and leadership worldwide, and Mission Year finally gives me the opportunity to live that out, after four years of ‘equipping,’” she says.

At Gordon Dr. Marvin Wilson‘s “Modern Jewish Culture” class was a hugely formative element of her outlook, as was Dr. Elaine Phillips‘ constant emphasis on faith interwoven with intellectualism, which McKenzie says has stuck with her wherever she goes. Despite being a highly involved student—as an RA in Evans Hall, and co-leader of the French club and a small group of A. J. Gordon Fellows—she says she is ready to break free. “Gordon provided an education without which I would be ill-equipped for many of the things I am undertaking,” she says.

McKenzie heard about Mission Year while at Gordon, but moved it to the back burner. She was reminded about Mission Year after interning as a summer counselor for an inner city teen camp last summer. Mission Year is an organization with an intense emphasis on living in Christian community and being an incarnational presence in the neighborhoods where it puts down its roots. McKenzie is thrilled to be assigned to Houston, a city she already knows and loves; she will live with other participants in an under-resourced neighborhood, attending a church in the area and volunteering a minimum of 35 hours a week with local organizations. For McKenzie, Mission Year is about joining the already-unfolding story of God in the American city.

“Long-term I’d like to work in some kind of ministry, hopefully with youth.  I would also like to spend extended time in France, and I hope to write books,” she says. “My time at Gordon was a necessary and blessed four years, filled with good things, good friends and lasting memories. It functioned as a time of preparation, as well as a time of maturation and self-discovery.”

The program kicks off in September. This summer she’s living and working on a small-scale organic farm in eastern Tennessee. Follow the chronicle of McKenzie’s journey in Texas and beyond through her blog; she plans to send out newsletters and periodic updates about her experiences. Mission Year relies on support funded by participants, so feel welcome to help McKenzie support hurting Houston communities here and here. McKenzie’s fundraising ID is 15-9011. Mission Year is a nonprofit agency; all donations are tax-deductible.

By Jimmy Sicord ’16, Communication Arts