Saturday, March 16
The Presbytery of Shenango
In 2011 their country was divided into two parts, Sudan and South Sudan. SPEC has been located in the north, but most of its members are displaced people from the south. Now that their “home” in South Sudan has been liberated from the oppressive Sudan government in the north, they are returning. Imagine hundreds of thousands of extremely poor people straggling back to what had been their homes 20 years ago. Those under 20 years of age had never been to their “home”!
What was home like? It probably had the worst infrastructure of anywhere on earth, with no schools or medical facilities—a place where the church was the only viable institution.
We think that we in the PC(USA) have problems? Well, we do! So when it came time for the semiannual pastors’ retreat, Shenango Presbytery invited Rev. Tut Kony, moderator of the Southern Presbytery of SPEC, to lead the retreat. He chose three topics: his pastoral work in his village, where intertribal violence had killed hundreds just weeks before he came; his practice of premarital counseling, in which he required 15 four-hour sessions with the bride and groom, including time with their parents; and his ministry of delivering the demon-possessed from their enslavement.
What does the Presbytery of Shenango need most? The witness of the world Christian community. As Indian Christian D. T. Niles once said, “The gospel is never safe in any culture unless there is a witness from beyond that culture.” Shenango would be a less faithful presbytery without the perspectives of our Sudanese friends.
The presbytery serves 11,642 members of 65 congregations. It is also home to Westminster and Grove City colleges and the New Wilmington Mission Conference.
Let us join in prayer for:
Let us pray
Gracious Lord, please remind us that we are part of a world Christian community and that we are not at its center. Your Holy Spirit has been working powerfully in the global South. Keep us humble as we seek partners among your followers everywhere. Amen.