What is XPLOR?

XPLOR is a 10-month residency for young adults who want to consider lives of care and service. It partners young adults with Disciples congregations and their communities. Residents engage in the four cornerstones of the program: Hands-on Service/Justice Work: Working with local non-profits to empower local mission efforts while gaining awareness of systems of injustice. Simple Living in Community:  Learning and practicing faithful, intentionally simple, and culturally competent communal living. Spiritual Discernment on Vocation:  Practicing spiritual disciplines as they strive to discern their purpose, call, and vocational direction. Disciples Leadership Development: Living out their Disciples identity and unleashing leadership capacity. In Tucson, First Christian shares our space with XPLOR residents. We are mindful of their presence in the area off of the fellowship hall and continue to respect their privacy. The congregational gifts to the church enable this ministry here. More importantly, the impact of the congregation’s gifts reaches not only the lives of the young adults, but also spreads into our community through the work they do in the non-profits.

The 2018-2019 Tucson-Marana XPLOR Residents are:

Ethan Bradfield from Long Beach, California Ethan is from Bixby Knolls Christian Church in Long Beach, California, where his dad is the pastor. In middle and high school, they were very involved in theater/drama. Their passion is for photography and film making. They have spent the past 3 years as a part time staff at Loch Leven, their regional church camp, and they are active in many other Regional events. Ethan is an Eagle Scout and applied for XPLOR because of a call to help others and spread their love for humanity. They are very good at working with others and solving problems. As well as photography, they enjoy building props, Photoshop, and playing the ukulele.   Emily Bray from Wauseon, Ohio Emily is a preacher’s daughter from Wauseon, OH, participating in FCC Sylvania, OH. Since graduating high school, she has completed one year of college, worked as a barista, head maintenance at Camp Christian in the summers, and grounds maintenance worker at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. In October 2016 she traveled to Thailand to serve two weeks at a refugee camp. Emily says that her faith has been the most important thing in her life as long as she can remember. She doesn’t quite have the future figured out yet, but she’ll get there. She loves to read, sing and dance, drink coffee, work out, and spend time with her kitten. She describes herself as hardworking, smart, loyal, reliable, kind, focused, loving and accepting and adventurous.   Natalie Maxson from Springfield, Missouri Natalie is wrapping up her senior year at Drury University in Springfield, Missouri, where she majors in Religious Studies and Spanish. She has acted as a peer mentor for international students in Drury’s English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program and currently works at the campus library as a Circulation Assistant. Natalie is fairly new to the Disciples but found her way to Central Christian Church in Springfield because she was seeking a faith journey that fostered inclusivity and community engagement. She has a passion for music, dance, intercultural communication, and interfaith dialogue, and she loves discovering how each of these can inspire and inform the pursuit of social justice. In her free time, Natalie dances West Coast Swing and other assorted styles, practices yoga, plays ukulele, crochets, and cultivates a sense of perpetual curiosity.