When it comes to working for social justice, Rev. Dr. Rula Colvin delivers.
“All you gotta do is do it,” she says. “That’s how things get done around here.”
After five years spent serving as a pastor to the St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Globe and the Claypool United Methodist Church, Colvin has become a champion of social justice causes here in Globe-Miami, serving as board president of both Globe-Miami Habitat for Humanity and the Gila Community Food Bank, co-chair of the Southern Gila County Networking Team, board member of Gila House and United Fund, and a member of the the Gila County Ministerial Association.
Historically, the Methodist Church is about social activism, Colvin points out. Beyond that, working on these issues comes naturally. She has been involved with food pantries and homeless shelters for years. Once she arrived in Globe, she found it easy to get involved. And, having grown up in Gila Bend, she understands how small towns work.
“I’ve always wanted to be more involved,” she says. “It seemed like I could do it in a bigger way here.”
Setting an example for her congregation by addressing needs she sees around the community just makes sense.
“It does ‘feed’ me too,” she adds. “It’s fulfilling for me.”
This community has a lot of needs, she says. People need affordable housing, and access to food.
Improved with a new carpet and fresh paint, streamlined paperwork, and increased funds, the local Food Bank has come a long way while Colvin has served on the board. This year she estimates that the Food Bank has provided meals for 700 families.
Since she began working with Habitat For Humanity, she has seen a house built every year for someone in Globe-Miami. As an advocate of coming up with new and different solutions to problems in the community, Colvin is happy to say the organization is rethinking habitat builds, potentially looking at abandoned houses in the area to restore in lieu of building homes from scratch.
As a member of the Gila House board, Colvin is exploring how to provide transitional housing to families in the community. After they reach a limit of 120 days spent in the Gila House shelter, these families (usually consisting of single mothers and children) have no place to go, she explains. Many cannot find alternatives in such a short span of time.
Meanwhile, Colvin has spent 17-plus years with the Methodist church, and the last 14 in ministry. Every Sunday she conducts services in Claypool, and then in Globe. She also conducts sidewalk ministry at the Globe Mobile Home Park, explaining to kids the downfalls of getting into drugs, alcohol and gangs.
Statewide, she is on the Hunger Advocacy Board, and chairs the United Methodist Southwest Conference task force on children and poverty.
Cliche as it may sound, Colvin is doing what is within her power to make Globe-Miami a better place.
“I can’t change the world, but I can change here, where I am,” she says. “And by changing something here locally, it can change something in the world.”
“My hope,” she adds, “is that I might inspire someone else.”
Jenn Walker began writing for Globe Miami Times in 2012 and has been a contributor ever since. Her work has also appeared in Submerge Magazine, Sacramento Press, Sacramento News & Review and California Health Report. She currently teaches Honors English at High Desert Middle School and mentors Globe School District’s robotics team.