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“While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven.” —Luke 24:51

Mission Connections
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Paul and Darlene Heller

Paul and Darlene ended mission service with the PC(USA) in 2011.

The Hellers were appointed as mission co-workers at the 218th General Assembly in San Jose, California, to serve with Ministry of Hope, a crisis nursery in Mzuzu, Malawi. Paul serves as the director of the nursery and Darlene as “matron.”

Ministry of Hope was founded in April 1999 by a young Malawian named Fletcher Matandika in response to the growing number of AIDS orphans in Malawi. Upon its founding, 200 orphans were cared for in the community with feeding and education. At present the number has grown to several thousand. As a nation, Malawi is faced with the challenge of raising approximately 2 million orphans.

Ministry of Hope has a central office in the capital city, Lilongwe, and feeding centers in six villages. Support and oversight are provided by a Malawian board of directors and a U.S. board of directors. Ultimately, the ministry is the responsibility of the Mkuza Presbyterian Church of the Nkhoma Synod in Malawi, in partnership with several other church enominations.

More information about Ministry of Hope is available at its website.

Prior to sensing the call to serve in Malawi Paul had served 35 years in pastoral ministry with the PC(USA). He was the pastor at First Presbyterian Church, Plattsburgh, New York, from 1991 to 2008. While in Plattsburgh, he was active in the community ministries such as Life Without Violence, a prison ministry, Evergreen Housing, an emergency shelter, interfaith hospitality and Network for Homeless Families, and he was a board member of a literacy organization.

Paul’s long service with the PC(USA) included being pastor of Western Adirondack Presbyterian Church in Star Lake, New York (1978 to 1991), and Babcock Presbyterian Church in Ashaway, Rhode Island (1973 to 1978).

Darlene has a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Cornell Unitersity. Prior to entering mission service she was a public health nurse working as inservice educator (1994 to the present) with the Clinton County Health Department in Plattsburgh, New York. She has also served in private practice and in a nursing home. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the honor society of nursing.

Paul has a bachelor’s degree from Gettysburg College and a Master of Divinity in pastoral ministry from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He was awarded a diploma in the art of spiritual direction from San Francisco Theological Seminary in 1998.

Paul is a minister of the Word and Sacrament of the PC(USA) and a minister member of the Presbytery of Northern New York. Darlene is a member of First Presbyterian Church, Plattsburgh, New York, where she is active as a choir member. She was ordained to the office of deacon there in 2002.

The Hellers are the parents of three adult children and one grandchild.

Paul - April 19
Darlene - June 4