A Letter from Ruth Brown, serving in Ghana
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“UwumbƆr cheen si!”
(May God be with you!)
It is not yet clear to me if the “you” in the phrase above is singular or plural, but it is the plural form of Liklakpaaln that I’m especially eager to learn: the words for “us,” “we,” and “our.”
The Lord has said, “Wherever two or more are gathered in my name, I will be present” (Matthew 18:20). So please join me on this journey to Ghana to ensure the presence of our best Guide!
On my last Sunday in my home church of Ginter Park Presbyterian (GPPC) in Richmond, VA, our pastor, Carla Pratt Keyes, held a blessing of water bottles. The water symbolized God’s promise to us in John 7:38, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”
Through faith in God, we can be nourishing and helpful to others. God’s promise is to each of us believers, but how even MORE helpful that we are put into families of faith to form a more powerful and more useful nurturing resource.
Our support of this partnership with the Presbyterian Church in Ghana can begin with our decisions by August 15, 2018, to attend the 17th Annual Ghana Mission Network (GMN) meeting, September 19-23, 2018, in Stony Point, New York.
From the GMN’s 2017 and 2018 fliers, I quote the following about this upcoming meeting:
“The Ghana Mission Network (GMN) is a community of PC(USA) entities and individuals, committed to supporting, advising, and exhorting one another in Christ’s work in Ghana and the USA, through partnerships with the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana (EPCG).
“The GMN Meetings provide opportunities to:
-Hear and consider together reports from network members who have partnerships between PC(USA) and Ghanaian Presbyterian organizations;
-Hear from representatives from Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG), Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ghana (EPCG) and PC(USA) World Mission representatives;
-Learn about topics of concern and importance for Ghana and Partnerships through keynote speakers and presentations; and
-Network, collaborate, discuss, worship, pray, and make friends!
“Guest presenters will be:
Rick Ufford-Chase – Co-Director of Stony Point Center and past Moderator of the 216th PC(USA) General Assembly (2004). Now serving as Associate for Interfaith Formation in the PC(USA) Presbyterian Mission Agency office of Theology and Worship. For more information, check out: pcusa.org/news/2016/1/22/pcusa-theology-and-worship-office-announces-change/
Ryan Smith – PC(USA) representative to the United Nations, Director of the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations. For more information, go to: presbyterianmission.org/story/ryan-smith-takes-leadership-role-presbyterian-ministry-united-nations/
“During the meeting, reports will be given from various presbyteries and partners who are working with Presbyterian churches in Ghana.”
There are seven active partnerships between PC(USA) presbyteries and Presbyterian Church of Ghana presbyteries or churches.
With the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ghana (EPCG), the church with which I will be most closely working, there are five active partnerships between three presbyteries and two churches of the PC(USA) with presbyteries and/or seminaries in Ghana.
This June, I experienced one of these active partnerships when I visited wonderfully welcoming church members in the Presbytery of Lake Erie. I enjoyed learning about the involvement of many churches and church members with assistance to pastors and communities in the EPCG’s Northern Presbytery. Two examples of assistance are a motorcycle fund for pastors and a clinic established by the EPCG in Wapuli.
The Motorcycle Fund for pastors provides much-needed reliable transportation for pastors to visit their congregations, which are spread out over great distances.
The EPCG established a Health Clinic in Wapuli in 1975. The clinic serves Wapuli and surrounding communities. Buildings had fallen into disrepair. The Presbytery of Lake Erie provided funding for new roofs, fresh paint, a new sanitation facility, and upgrades to rooms and laboratory. The clinic is being brought up to national standards for the government to supply a medical doctor. The Wapuli Clinic will be an ongoing, long-term endeavor of the partnership.
Other programs represented in the Ghana Mission Network include Conference of Ghanaian Presbyterian Churches; North America in partnership with Presbyterian University College; Ghana Prison Ministry; and Living Waters for the World. Also, PC(USA) theological seminaries Columbia, Dubuque, Pittsburgh, and Union have partnerships with Trinity Theological Seminary, Ghana.
The GMN is the only mission network that intentionally meets in both countries. Every third year, the GMN meets in Ghana. The 2017 meeting was hosted by the Ghana Prison Ministry at the PCG Ramseyer Training Center in Abetifi-Kwahu. In September 2020, the GMN plans to meet in Northern Ghana! Do put this on your calendar now!
The growing GMN community provides support, encouragement and inspiration for individuals and for partnerships. New members are welcome!
Contributions to the Ghana Mission Network can be made to:
The Presbytery of Lake Erie
2816 Elmwood Ave
Erie, PA 16508
(memo: Ghana Mission Network)
Funds are used to support the GMN and provide scholarships for the GMN Meetings. Funds have also been used to support Rev. Joshua Heikkila, PC(USA) mission co-worker West Africa liaison, in his work and ministries.
I am indebted to the GMN Communications chair, Donna Cammarata, for all the above information, printed practically verbatim from her GMN brochure.
Donna Cammarata may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please request more information about the GMN and conference registration forms from Donna.
Thank you all for your friendship, your prayers, and your financial gifts. I would be unable to serve without this support. If you have not yet prayed or supported financially, please consider starting soon! I will be grateful!
-Please pray for the GMN and the Annual Meeting.
-Consider registering to attend the GMN conference.
-Invite and encourage others to attend.
-Contribute to the GMN Scholarship Fund to support Ghanaian church members’ participation.
I’d like to share an alteration of favorite lines written by Dag Hammarskjold:
“[We are] the vessel.
The drought is God.
And God is the thirsty one.”
Let us be living waters, helpful resources for God’s people of Ghana!
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