Message from Roger Dermody
In 2011 tornadoes wreaked havoc across communities throughout this country, leaving massive damage in Alabama, Missouri, Georgia, Tennessee, and other states, in some places wiping out entire towns. These storms radically changed the lives of all those impacted.
It’s obvious that our denomination is likewise going through a series of storms that threatens to radically change the lives of all its people.
In the aftermath of the tornadoes, Presbyterians were there, aiding the victims, serving, sharing, reaching out, and providing hope. I pray that in the midst of the storms we currently face, Presbyterians will continue to serve, share, reach out, and provide hope, as we have in international mission the past 175 years.
Our history as Presbyterians is a rich and vibrant one. Presbyterians have always been at the forefront of missional activity. The fruit of our mission and ministry efforts can be seen literally all over the world. There is much for which we can praise God. There is much that we have done. There is much that we are still doing. And I urge you to read about some of this work, from four of my colleagues. I firmly believe that there is much we can—and with God’s help—will still do to the glory of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, in the name of Jesus Christ. It seems to me that it’s often in the midst of and after the biggest storms that God’s people most clearly serve, share, reach out, and reflect the hope of Christ to a broken world.
Roger Dermody, Deputy Executive Director for Mission
General Assembly Mission Council
The Presbyterian Hunger Program works with RELUFA, a network of churches and nonprofits. Vulnerable communities in semi-Saharan northern Cameroon are thriving through RELUFA’s Food Sovereignty program, which allows farmers in 42 villages to ward off speculators at harvest time and stock their crops to eat later or sell when prices are higher. This program, coupled with an innovative tuition-assistance arrangement for children, has been highlighted as a pilot for rural development throughout the country.
Ruth Farrell, Coordinator
Presbyterian Hunger Program
Church Growth Ministries works in partnership with pastors, committees, and mid councils to provide training, materials, and consultation in planting and growing new congregations. One of their initiatives is New Beginnings, an assessment and discernment process that provides congregations a critical and in-depth look at themselves while guiding them into a future both true to their historical commitments and relevant to the 21st century.
Philip Lotspeich, Coordinator
Church Growth Ministries
The Office of Public Witness (OPW) advocates for the social justice perspectives and policies approved by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly. This valuable denominational resource is involved in ecumenical and interfaith collaboration on political issues and serves as a prophetic voice concerning proposed legislation affecting how we live together in God’s world. The OPW’s central advocacy, grounded in Scripture, brings the heart of the gospel to the nation’s capital and equips Presbyterians for advocacy in their own contexts.
J. Herbert Nelson II, Director
Office of Public Witness
In collaboration with Presbyterian Publishing Corporation, Congregational Ministries Publishing launched a new curriculum in 2011 called Feasting on the Word: Teaching the Revised Common Lectionary. Based on the award-winning commentary, this ecumenical, downloadable resource provides materials for all ages and connects worship and faith formation like no lectionary curriculum ever has.
Clare Lewis, Publisher
Congregational Ministries Publishing
Compassion, Peace and Justice
The ministries of Compassion, Peace and Justice focus on rebuilding communities after a tornado or hurricane wipes out an entire city, eliminating hunger by educating and equipping individuals and congregations to address the issues that perpetuate hunger, and helping people help themselves with long-term solutions to poverty and pressing community problems. These ministries, in very real and tangible ways, respond to God’s call through the prophet Isaiah that we be “the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in” (58:12)—making God’s community livable for all.
Evangelism and Church Growth
Evangelism and Church Growth ministries support the Church’s desire to make disciples for the transformation of the world. We do this by helping congregations and mid councils partner with the Holy Spirit to accomplish God’s redemptive plan through faith in Jesus Christ. Our vision is to help the PC(USA) become a turnaround denomination, by igniting a passion for Jesus, inspiring the church to be the church, and equipping leaders for 21st century mission and ministry. We are gratified that God is working through Evangelism and Church Growth ministries to impact the lives of congregations, presbyteries, church leaders, youth and the people who work with them, young adults, college students, and our PC(USA) camp and conference center leaders.
Racial Ethnic & Women’s Ministries/Presbyterian Women
In Racial Ethnic & Women’s Ministries/Presbyterian Women, we engage the church in its mission to become more diverse and inclusive of racial, ethnic, cultural, and language groups, and we equip women for leadership in all ministries of the church.
The newest growth in the church is in racial ethnic and new immigrant worshiping communities. In the Office of Cross Cultural Ministries we assist European American congregations to better reflect the diversity of their surrounding communities. We work in the areas of Women’s Leadership Development and resource young women’s ministries.
With Presbyterian Women Inc., we work on behalf of the church for women’s empowerment and racial justice, for in God’s beloved community there are no arbitrary distinctions; we are all one in Christ Jesus.
Theology, Worship and Education
Theology, Worship and Education (TWE) ministries support Presbyterians’ commitment to join God’s mission in the world by working in three distinct areas: Congregational Ministries Publishing and the Offices of Theological Education and of Theology and Worship. Our ministries prepare clergy and all Christians to wrestle with issues of theology, discipleship, and worship, in congregational and seminary contexts. TWE initiatives inspire, equip, and connect the church to think, pray, and live the faith and are animated by the conviction that what we believe shapes how we pray, and how we pray shapes how we live.
Today’s church leaders are called to discern God’s will, explore new paths, and take risks to seize new opportunities. The focus of the work of the Office of Vocation is to support the development of leaders for our changing church—leaders who effectively love and lead existing congregations into new mission in their neighborhoods, and leaders who birth new worshiping communities reaching new Christians in 1,001 new ways. In 2011 we planted the seeds for Transformational Leadership Debt Assistance, a new forgivable loan program for risk-taking pastors of small, growing communities of faith. We commissioned 10 new pastoral residents through the For Such a Time as This program and continue to work with our seminaries and presbyteries on the complex task of ministerial formation and development. Now is the time to ask, why not? Why not explore possibilities for new forms of ministry, and support passionate and creative leaders for times such as these? We’re doing just that.
As we celebrate the 175 years of Presbyterian world mission, our vision is to continue this faithful mission heritage. With thanks and pride, we honor Presbyterian missionaries who planted churches, built hospitals, and started schools on every continent. These seeds have often grown into self-sustaining churches and institutions now led by local Christians. More than 94 million Christians around the world have come to faith through denominations founded or cofounded by Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mission workers. Today World Mission sends out almost 200 mission co-workers serving in over 50 countries. Along with global partners and U.S. Presbyterians, we are tackling three critical global issues: partnering with communities to lift people out of desperate poverty, empowering the global church to reach more people with Christ’s message of love, and facilitating reconciliation in troubled places.