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Rev. Debbie Chase
Mission co-worker in Malawi
Serving at the College of Theology, University of Livingtonia,
at the invitation of the Synod of Livingtonia, Church of Central
Africa Presbyterian (CCAP)
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About Debbie Chase's minisry
Debbie has been under appointment as a mission co-worker since 1999. She serves in Ekwendeni, Malawi, as an administrator and lecturer at the University of Livingstonia, College of Theology, a seminary of the Synod of Livingstonia, Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP).
The Synod of Livingstonia serves the northern region of Malawi through its 130 congregations, 500 primary schools, five secondary schools and three hospitals and through its development and relief work and evangelism programs. The Synod has only 105 ministers to serve the needs of 610,000 members and their communities. That is a ratio of church members to ministers of 5,800 to 1. And the need for more ministers is even greater than the numbers may suggest, since new churches are forming to meet the rapid growth in membership. The need for more ministers is crucial.
In April 2003 the Synod of Livingstonia established the College of Theology to train ministers to meet this great need. Debbie was involved in the planning and inauguration of the college and now serves as dean of academic affairs and lecturer in Old Testament, systematic theology and pastoral psychology. She also preaches and administers the sacraments at various churches of the Synod of Livingstonia.
Debbie’s work with the Synod is born of the Mutual Ministry Covenant of Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery (of which Debbie is a minister member) with the Synod of Livingstonia. In 1998 the Synod of Livingstonia invited Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery to send a clergywoman to help open doors for the ordination of women in Malawi to the ministry of the Word and Sacrament. In September 1999 Debbie responded to this call.
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From September 1999 to March 2003 Debbie served the Synod of Livingstonia as clergy advisor to the synod on women’s issues. In this capacity she was associate pastor of the Zolozolo CCAP congregation in Mzuzu and on the staff of the Synod’s Lay Training Center in Ekwendeni. Her work focused on teaching lay leaders and pastors, which led to her serving in her present position as dean and lecturer at University of Livingstonia, College of Theology.
Malawi is acclaimed to be the “warm heart of Africa.” Its people are warm and gracious and, despite great adversity, they are filled with the spirit of the living God. Malawi has 11 million people. One million of them are orphaned children due to HIV/AIDS and malaria. The church plays a vital role in giving people reason to hope under such formidable circumstances.
Malawi, a relatively small country on the African continent, is poor and has suffered from drought and floods as well as the spread of HIV/AIDS. In spite of the many challenges and hardships Malawi faces, the faith of its people remains strong. With roots in the Church of Scotland, the Free Church of Scotland, and the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa, the CCAP was formed in the late 1940s. Since beginning its involvement in Malawi in the 1950s, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has sent many long-term and short-term mission personnel to serve in the country. The Synod of Livingstonia, one of four synods of the CCAP, grew out of a mission station founded in 1875 and named in honor of David Livingstone, the famed Scottish Presbyterian missionary.
About Debbie Chase
Born in Appleton, Wisconsin, Debbie graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. She worked for eight years as a counselor and social worker before attending Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. She later transferred to Princeton Theological Seminary, from which she received a Master of Divinity degree.
Debbie has served churches in Michigan and Oklahoma and has been involved with her presbytery’s partnership with the Synod of Livingstonia since its inception.
Birthday: February 26