A letter from Kay Day in Malawi
Dear Friends and Family,
Greetings from the Warm Heart of Africa during this World Communion season. Here communion with the larger church of Christ happens more than on a single day. Communion is more than the bread and the wine. It is the spirit of a season of joining together in ministry for the Kingdom of God. It is ministering together. That is what has been happening especially during the past month as several groups have come and gone to participate together in ministry. I have been privileged to be part of these communions in small ways.
Early in September a group came from First Presbyterian Church in Champaign, Ill., to a small village near Mulanje Mountain to continue a summer-long celebration of the opening of a new church building. The two congregations had worked in communion to build the new structure and the celebration commemorated that. In the process they strengthened relationships and built new friendships as they joined together in Bible studies, work projects and musical evenings. They had communion, in the greatest sense of the word.
At the middle of the month a group came from First Presbyterian Church in Urbana, Ill., to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Jeanes church, a construction the two congregations built together in Domasi. This was a time of recommitment to the partnership they have shared. Both congregations have new pastors, so they met to plan together for the future as they celebrated the past. They discussed what the communion of the saints might look like in the next 10 years, renewing some of the things they have done and looking at new expressions of ministry together. The group left with a firm commitment to continued communion together in ministry.
On the same airplane that the Urbana group was on, headed to the United States, was a trio of representatives from Domasi Presbytery headed to Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery, a relatively new partnership that was taking the bold step of sending missionaries to the United States in communion with their partners. This coming Sunday, World Communion will have a fuller meaning as Malawians and Americans celebrate together in Ohio. The delegation will share in the preaching and the breaking of bread, but also in Bible studies, in planning meetings, and on work projects that will draw the two presbyteries into closer communion in ministry.
Yes, communion begins around the table, with the bread and the wine, the body and blood of Christ celebrated, but that is only the beginning. Full communion happens when we enter into ministry together, sharing in the work of Christ in the world. That is what has been happening here this month. I pray it is what happens for you in new and fresh ways as you join with Christians around the world in ministry through your prayers and your presence. Please continue to pray for all of us involved in such ministry, especially here in Malawi and with Blantyre Synod.
Yours in Christ,
The 2011 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 67
The 2012 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 106