Wednesday, May 1
Holocaust Remembrance Day
In Mark’s account of the feeding of the 5,000, the miracle of plenty is realized in the act of sharing what appear to be meager resources. Four of our partner churches in southern Africa are working together to explore how they can share their gifts with the millions in the region affected by the HIV and AIDS pandemic. Known as the Compassionate Churches Campaign, the initiative invites congregational leaders from the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, the Uniting Presbyterian Church, the Presbyterian Church of Africa (all in South Africa), and the Lesotho Evangelical Church to take part in workshops that challenge them to recognize the impact of the stigma attached to HIV and AIDS and to develop concrete plans to confront that stigma in their congregations and communities. Each denomination has plans to reach out to more than 100 congregations, and follow-up support will be provided to encourage and support the participants as they return home to implement their plans. PC(USA) World Mission and EMPACT Africa are sponsoring this training.
The workshops enable participants to see stigma with “new eyes” and equip them with practical strategies to share their “loaves”—not just tangible gifts but gifts of caring and compassion that enable congregations to open wide the doors of the church to welcome all God’s beloved children. At the close of one workshop, a participant who was openly HIV-positive tearfully told the group, “These tears are not because I am sad, but because I did not know there could be so much support out there.”
—Rev. Janet Guyer, PC(USA) mission co-worker, Gauteng, South Africa
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) People in Mission
Rev. Janet Guyer, Southern Africa AIDS consultant, Evangelical Presbyterian Church in South Africa • Dr. Douglas Tilton, regional liaison, Southern Africa, World Mission
Evangelical Presbyterian Church in South Africa: Rev. H. Dixon Masangu, moderator, Rev. Dr. Titus R. Mobbie, general secretary • Presbyterian Church of Africa: Rev. George Mokabo, moderator, Rev. M. Charles Vakala, stated clerk • Uniting Presbyterian Church in South Africa (UPCSA): Rev. Rod Botsis, moderator, Rev. Dr. Jerry Pillay, general secretary • Uniting Reformed Church in South Africa (URCSA): Prof. S. T. Kgatla, moderator, Dr. Dawid Kuyler, general secretary • South African Council of Churches: Rev. Mautji Pataki, general secretary, Bishop Jo Seoka, president
Presbytery Partnerships: Presbytery of Boise, Presbytery of Donegal, Presbytery of Florida, Presbytery of New York City, North Alabama Presbytery, and Presbytery of Northern New England, with the UPCSA; Presbytery of Western New York, with the URCSA
Let us pray
Lord, we want to be compassionate, reaching out to all your people, even those who may make us uncomfortable, because we know that we are all loved by you. Guide our thoughts and our actions as we strive to be more like you. Amen.