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New Roles, Renewed Opportunities


A Letter from Ryan and Alethia White, serving as co-regional liaisons for Northern and Central Europe

Summer 2022

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Dear friends and supporters,

We hope this finds you well and enjoying the summer wherever you are. While summer brings a welcome change of pace for our family with our daughters on break from school and many of our regional partners taking their holidays, it has otherwise been a full year so far for us, and similar plans are already building for the coming months.

Originally, we had sent out our plans for a virtual Interpretation Assignment during this past spring, but those plans did not go exactly as we had hoped, given the war in Ukraine, which demanded much of our attention as we worked to assist our colleagues and regional partners in their response to the situation. We are very grateful for the time we did get to spend virtually with some of you and apologize that our original plans for a mini-series and such did not get off the ground. Hopefully, we can revisit some of those ideas in the near future. And we would like to offer our availability for virtual visits and meetings at any time. We are also pleased to make these connections with you all, and it is something that gives us energy and hope.

Ukrainian green field under white and blue clouds during the daytime. Photo by Kostiantyn Stupak. Found on Pexels.

In the past communications, you may have gathered that our responsibilities have been shifting since the pandemic began, and we are happy to announce that we have officially accepted the joint position of co-regional liaisons for Northern and Central Europe. Although Ryan is still working with the church in Berlin to ensure a smooth transition for them, we have been very excited to expand our connections with PC(USA)’s regional partners, which include the Church of Scotland, Kerk in Actie (Church in Action) in the Netherlands, the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren in the Czech Republic, the Reformed Church in Hungary, various church organizations in the UK and Germany, as well as expanding partnerships throughout the region. These partners, especially in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and other countries bordering Ukraine, worked with PC(USA) through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) to provide emergency funding for Ukraine. PDA continues to remain in contact with them as the war between Russia and Ukraine continues to evolve.

As part of our regional role, one of us will be traveling to the World Council of Churches General Assembly, held this fall in Germany. We look forward to welcoming the PC(USA) delegation to Germany for this event, and part of our role will be to support them as we take part in the assembly.

“Stop War” sign held during a protest in Ukraine. Photo by Mathias Reding. Found on Pexels.

Another exciting development is that after much planning and discussion, we are looking forward to welcoming two volunteers from the U.S. to Berlin to work with two different parish communities in partnership with Berliner Missionswerk (Berlin Mission), the mission agency of the Protestant Church of Berlin. This project has been a long time in planning, and our ecumenical partner and we are very happy to get to know the two volunteers who will arrive in September. They will spend 10 months involved in many aspects of their respective parish communities, which include working with various social projects to support the neighborhood and parish. Alethia will continue liaising with Berliner Missionswerk and PC(USA) to support the volunteers in this new endeavor. We hope this is the start of an annual program for volunteers through PC(USA) and Berliner Missionswerk.

We look forward to bringing you more of these updates as these projects progress in the coming months. There are many issues to pay attention to. Still, we are inspired by the experience and attitudes of our partners and the many ways they collaborate throughout Europe and abroad to address pressing issues such as migrant rights and solidarity, racism, environmental justice, young adult involvement and congregational vitality. It is an honor for us to be part of these conversations together.

This next year marks 10 years since we began our service with PC(USA), and we are deeply appreciative and humbled by the fact that so many of you have continued to support us and be in close communication through the ups and downs. Your role is imperative, and we are thankful for you!

Mit herzlichen Grüßen (with heartfelt greetings) and hope for the days ahead,

Alethia and Ryan

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