Racial Justice Resources

Meeting with Two International Partners – A Success

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

September 2019 

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The Uniting Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa (UPCSA) Synod and Presbytery officers and Central Church of Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) officers of the Synod of Zambia met this past May at the home of the regional liaison for East Central Africa, located on the Justo Mwale University campus, to discuss inquiries that the UPCSA had contemplated for years. They were interested in understanding how CCAP has been able to launch several ministries with limited funds among communities experiencing extreme poverty. They also wanted to ascertain from their sister church how they have seized the opportunity to establish projects and programs at the Synod level that have triggered partnership action from PC(USA). In addition, they wondered how the partnership with CCAP and PC(USA) developed and how it is maintained.

The meeting was centered around the Christ Candle and the Holy Spirit. The seating was arranged so that we all sat around the Christ Candle. The attendance included CCAP’s moderator-elect, Reverend Kapasaka; general secretary, Reverend Sevatt Kabaghe; deputy general secretary, Reverend Daniel Tembo; and treasurer, Abraham Banda. The UPCSA were represented by past Synod moderator, Reverend Jane Nyirongo; Synod moderator, Reverend Sauros Phaika; Mchinga Presbytery moderator, Reverend Edward Chirwa; Copperbelt Presbytery moderator, Reverend Richard Mkandawire; Munali Presbytery clerk, Reverend Kennedy Mhoni; and Synod clerk, Reverend Thomson Mkandawire.

As we sat around the Christ Candle, a roomful of Reverends, it was only right to open our meeting with prayer (led by Rev. Kabaghe) and Bible study led by the regional liaison. Our study and reflections were guided by passages from John 1:19-23; John 20:19-23; and Romans 10:14-18. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit and reflections from the passages, the meeting began.

From my observation I offer this brief summation of the meeting. The representatives from CCAP were accommodating to UPCSA’s inquiries and open to share. They explained that their programs had had humble beginnings, starting with the creation of their Relief and Development Department (RDD), which had generated other departments: health, education, etc. They mentioned wanting to share the Gospel, but in doing so they took note of the fact that the people were in need of basic care – clean water, food, education, etc. So, their focus shifted to teaching people how to grow food, to installing boreholes, to opening community schools so that those who couldn’t afford government schools could get an education. They didn’t have the money, but they leaped out on faith. At the start, the teachers for the community schools were all volunteers. During these developing times, they sought to reclaim their land in Chasefu from the government. Many of the buildings that were built by the missionaries had been destroyed, and those bricks were used to build a government primary school on that very land. In addition to the government building a school on their land, many families unlawfully occupied the land and had built their homes on it. Once CCAP reclaimed the land in Chasefu, the school was opened for students to get their degrees.

They explained that none of these endeavors were without challenges: 16 students had to live in a classroom block together until the hostel was built; classes were held in a primary school; and the students had to learn how to farm so they could eat. Neighboring CCAP churches assisted with mealie meal (maize) for Nshima (cornmeal porridge). Still, today, boreholes and electricity are greatly needed. And a hostel for women is a challenge as well. Other challenges include budgets at various levels: congregations, presbyteries and Synod; and making sure the requirements for funding from PC(USA) are met as well.

In my opinion, the meeting went well. The space and time were complete with camaraderie, humility, and respect. UPCSA was very attentive and engaged. I believe CCAP shared a lot of their background, their progress and their challenges satisfactorily to UPCSA representatives. UPCSA expressed an interest in visiting some of CCAP’s projects/programs, and CCAP shared that they are more than willing to accede to their request.

CCAP’s general secretary, Rev. Kabaghe, felt that the meeting was very good. He hopes that they each learned to be one and be respectful to one another. The stated clerk of UPCSA, Rev. Mkandawire, was very impressed with the outcome of the consultation. He believes that they are getting somewhere.

I look forward to seeing what God will do within and throughout the efforts of these two denominations as they work together toward the Missio Dei (translated, the Mission of God)!

In Christ’s Love,

Paula

Please read this important message from Sara Lisherness, interim director of Presbyterian World Mission

Dear friend of Presbyterian Mission,

Greetings in Christ! As the interim director of Presbyterian World Mission, I am grateful to have the opportunity to thank you for your continued support of PC(USA) mission co-workers.

The enclosed newsletter bears witness to some of the many ways in which God is at work in the world through long-standing relationships between global partners and the PC(USA). These partnerships are nurtured and strengthened by the presence of mission co-workers in over 40 countries; you are an important part of this partnership too, as you learn about and share how our church is involved in global ministry; as you pray for our partners and mission co-workers; and as you take action to work with others for God’s justice, peace and healing.

I write to invite you to continue joining us in partnership in three ways. First, your prayers are always needed. Please pray that God will continue guiding the shared work of the PC(USA) and global partners as we engage together in service around the world. Pray, too, for mission co-workers, that they may feel encouraged in the work they are doing under the leadership of global partners.

Second, please consider making a year-end gift for the sending and support of at least one mission co-worker. There is a remittance form at the end of this letter and an enclosed envelope so that you can send in a special year-end gift.

Finally, I encourage you to ask your session to include one or more mission co-workers in your congregation’s mission budget for 2020 and beyond. PC(USA) mission co-workers’ sending and support costs are funded by the designated gifts of individuals and congregations like yours; your gifts allow Presbyterian World Mission to fulfill global partners’ requests for mission personnel.

Faithfully in Christ,

Sara Pottschmidt Lisherness
Director, Compassion, Peace and Justice Ministry
Interim Director, Presbyterian World Mission


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