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Leaning Into Visions that Transform Individuals and Communities – Part Five

A Letter from Paula Cooper, serving as regional liaison for East Central Africa

Winter 2023

Write to Paula Cooper

Individuals: Give online to E132192 in honor of Paula Cooper’s ministry

Congregations: Give to D500115 in honor of Paula Cooper’s ministry

Churches are asked to send donations through your congregation’s normal receiving site (this is usually your presbytery)

 


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Dear friends,

Our previous newsletter featured a message from Rev. Vasco Kachipapa, who serves as the General Secretary of the Nkhoma Synod in Nkhoma, Malawi. Their strategic plan centers around addressing climate change, one of the areas of focus that PC(USA) emphasizes as we strive to live out the teachings of Matthew 25:31-46.

As you may remember, we discovered that our global church partners’ “patterns of Christian practice in church and society” are proven effective in their ministries, fostering spiritual growth and transformation in their members and the surrounding communities.

I am excited to introduce you to the Church of Central Africa General Assembly (CCAP GA), whose office is located in Lilongwe, Malawi. Do you have your favorite beverage at hand? If so, sit back and listen to the Reverend Dr. Mwawi Chilongozi discuss the foci of the GA.

“The CCAP GA focuses on four areas: church unity, girls’ empowerment, climate change, and self-sustaining churches. The Scripture we lean into is Isaiah 43:19 ‘Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert (ESV).’

 UNITY OF THE CHURCH
The CCAP GA comprises the five Synods: Livingstonia, Nkhoma, and Blantyre Synods in Malawi, Synod of Zambia in Zambia, and Harare Synod in Zimbabwe. The CCAP was established in 1924 by two Scottish missionary enterprises – the Livingstonia Mission of the Free Church of Scotland and the Blantyre Mission of the Church of Scotland. The Nkhoma Mission of the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa joined in 1926. Although the CCAP was established to be one united church, there were differences among the three Synods regarding constitution and liturgy. These differences are the source of the border wrangles between Livingstonia and Nkhoma Synods for the past 55 years. The General Assembly now focuses on the church’s unity, trusting that God is doing something new among the Synods. The Standing Committee is now meeting at least four times a year, and there is no more lingering tension in these meetings.

To ensure unity, the Chaplaincy Department unites chaplains from the five Synods through training, such as the recent workshop on trauma healing in June. The Presbyterian Church U.S.A. (PC(USA)) funded training and was attended by one chaplain from each Synod and the Malawi Police Service (MPS) CCAP chaplains.

The CCAP will celebrate its centenary in Lilongwe, Malawi, on August 24-25, 2024. We have established a steering committee and several sub-committees comprising members from the five Synods. Most meetings are held virtually to accommodate those from Zambia and Zimbabwe. This will also assist in bringing unity among the CCAP Synods.

Also, in May and June, Rev. Dr. Mwawi Chilongozi, the Secretary-General, and Rev. Cheryl Barnes, the Education Facilitator (now PC(USA) Africa Area Coordinator) visited the Harare Synod in Zimbabwe and Zambia Synod in Zambia. The visits were crucial in uniting the five Synods and encouraging them to fulfill their financial obligations to the CCAP General Assembly.

GIRLS’ EMPOWERMENT
The Education Department and Educate Our Girls Project of CCAP GA empower pregnant girls who dropped out of school during COVID-19 to resume their education. Some churches and individuals in PC(USA) fund the Educate Our Girls Project. The funds are used to pay for girls’ school fees and supplies. The CCAP GA agrees with the African Proverb, ‘If you educate a girl/woman, you educate a nation; if you educate a man, you educate an individual.’ The girls who become pregnant or get married can receive an education, break free from poverty, and become self-sufficient.

CLIMATE CHANGE
Tropical cyclones are a recent occurrence in Malawi and other Southern African countries, as they have not experienced cyclones in previous years. Between 2021 and 2023, these countries have encountered three cyclones: Cyclone Idai, Cyclone Gombe, and Cyclone Freddy. Cyclone Freddy was the most devastating tropical cyclone caused by climate change and global warming. Climate change is greatly influenced by deforestation. In order to address this issue, the CCAP GA has initiated a reforestation project. The project involves planting tree nurseries and distributing tree seedlings to churches, communities and schools for planting purposes. This three-year project from 2022 to 2024 is funded by the Alliance for International Reforestation (AIR). The tree planting season for 2022 and 2023 will be part of it. We distributed 1,500 seedlings to three Chigodi villages and 800 seedlings to Chimwala Primary School and CCAP Congregation in Lilongwe, both under Nkhoma Synod.

The CCAP GA has just signed a contract with Signpost International of Scotland for a three-year tree-planting project (2023-2025). This project will be implemented in Southern Malawi, devastated by Cyclone Freddy in March 2023. The CCAP GA will work hand in hand with the Blantyre Synod Health and Development Commission (BSHDC).

SELF-SUSTAINING INITIATIVES
The CCAP GA is supported financially by the Synods. However, the Synods don’t meet the financial obligation to the GA. This becomes a challenge for running the GA’s daily affairs. The GA has a house in Lilongwe that was used as an income generating; however, the house was damaged by fire in 2022. The GA cannot repair the house due to insufficient funds, causing a loss of income from rentals. Nevertheless, the GA is developing an events garden as an income-generating initiative. People can use the events garden for weddings, engagements, bridal showers, and other activities at a cost, which will assist in financing the running costs of the GA office.”

Reverend Dr. Mwawi Chilongozi

To help fund these CCAP GA initiatives please donate to E05214.


Please read this important message from Director of World Mission Rev. Mienda Uriarte

Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Matthew 25:34-36

Dear friends,

Great things are happening in World Mission! As you know from the letters you’ve been receiving, our mission co-workers are at the forefront of showing us what Matthew 25 looks like in the U.S. and in the wider world. They are addressing issues related to eradicating systemic poverty, building congregational vitality and dismantling structural racism. Together with our partners, mission co-workers are engaged in life-transforming ministries in 80 countries around the world. Here are just a few examples:

As an education consultant in the Democratic Republic of Congo, José Jones assists the Presbyterian Community of Kinshasa (CPK) education department in the development, implementation and evaluation of strategic plans to strengthen the church’s primary and secondary education programs for more than 350 schools.

Based in Manila, Rev. Cathy Chang works closely with the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) and other partners in ministry to engage programs and networks across Asia that advocate for people vulnerable to forced migration and human trafficking.

Nadia Ayoub works alongside our Greek partners as they faithfully hold to the biblical call to welcome the stranger. Nadia serves with Perichoresis, a ministry of the Evangelical Church of Greece that provides housing and support to refugees; most of whom have come to Greece from Arabic-speaking countries.

Joseph Russ strengthens and supports a network of partners working in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to address migration issues in the Northern Triangle. Based on the needs people on the ground identify, Joseph empowers U.S. congregations to engage in advocacy related to Central America and immigration reform.

Revs. Drs. Noah Park and Esther Shin serve as professors at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo (ETSC). ETSC graduates work toward revitalizing congregational ministries in Egypt and work with refugee and peace ministries in various countries in the Middle East.

Please consider giving an extra gift this year to support our mission co-workers as they walk alongside our partners and help shape a more life-giving, equitable and hopeful world!

Prayerfully,

Rev. Mienda Uriarte, Director of World Mission
Presbyterian Mission Agency
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
To give online, visit https://bit.ly/23MC-YE.

Honorary gifts can be made by checking the box and writing the mission co-worker’s name in the comment field online.


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