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A letter from Ryan and Alethia White, co-regional liaisons for Northern and Central Europe

Winter 2023

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Write to Alethia White

Individuals: Give to E132192 in honor of Ryan and Alethia White’s ministry

Congregations: Give to D500115 in honor of Ryan and Alethia White’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, 

As I write this letter, we are preparing to celebrate our first Thanksgiving in the U.S. in 10 years. Since Thanksgiving is not a holiday in Germany, and our daughters have never been great fans of traditional Thanksgiving food except for potatoes, we have not marked the holiday in the same way as we used to. Since the girls are experiencing their first year in U.S. schools, this offers new educational opportunities, including Thanksgiving discussions and celebrations in school.  

We arrived in the U.S. in mid-August and the past three months have been very much a transition period for us all, which has gone better than we anticipated. Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers during this time.  

Ryan and Alethia

The plan is that we will be in the U.S. until Summer 2024 and during this time we remain connected with the work of our partners in Northern and Central Europe including the congregation in Berlin. At present, the congregation continues to meet for weekly worship organized by one of the leaders whom we have accompanied for the past 10 years. The connection with the Synod of the Evangelical Church of Iran in Diaspora (SECID) has continued to develop, with the general secretary traveling from Nuremberg to Berlin one time a month to assist with the pastoral leadership of the community.   

An exciting development has been accompanying SECID as they support the purchase of a property in Nuremberg that will be used for weekly worship as well as other educational opportunities. At the writing of this letter, the sale has been approved and the transfer of funds is being finalized. This has been a lengthy process overall with changes and challenges, but it has also brought opportunities for partnership, and we are extremely thankful for Peachtree Presbyterian Church joining in this project. If you would like to support the Ministry to Iranians in Diaspora financially, please donate to fund number E052120.

 Being in the U.S. also provides us with the opportunity to connect with congregations and supporters here and it has been great to do so already through virtual connections and with local congregations in the Richmond area. The last time we had planned an itineration in the U.S. was in 2020, and these plans were canceled due to the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Much has changed in our world since 2020 and while we are looking forward to engaging with in-person visits, we are also wanting to re-think with you how this can occur.   

The environmental impact of travel during itineration has been a concern for us for several years, and this has risen as a priority, especially as climate change has risen as a priority for our partners and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). In addition, there is the reality that since our daughters are in school it is not as simple to travel together as a family. All this means we want to be more thoughtful in how our connections and in-person visits occur. And we want to take advantage of the opportunities widespread virtual connection now offers.  

We have made plans for regular virtual conversations and had a great first one on November 8 connecting with a few of you. This was a nice opportunity to share an update on our transition and current issues relevant to our partners. Our next virtual conversation will be on December 13 at noon (EST) offering a chance for Alethia to talk about her participation at the United Nations Climate Change, Conference of Parties (COP 28) event that took place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), in late November and early December 2023. 

On January 10, 2024, we will have an informal “Coffee and Conversation” and on January 31 we will host a conversation on migration. Given these will be virtual events, we are hoping to include partners in these conversations to hear directly from them how the issues are relevant in their contexts.  

We are now using MailChimp to manage our distribution list and communication. If you have not received any emails from us this way, please email us directly at and and we will add you to the list. Registration for these virtual conversations will be sent a couple of weeks prior to the event.

In January, Ryan will also be attending the Matthew 25 Summit in Atlanta and helping facilitate two workshops. The first will be an introduction to Confronting Militarism and the second will be on Militarism and Migration. If you, or someone you know, is interested in attending this summit, visit for more information.  

While the Matthew 25 foci originated from a General Assembly overture and were initially focused on themes relevant to the U.S. context, we have found these offer a basis for conversation with partners since many of these themes are also shared by them. Being able to listen to how these are relevant in various contexts expands our understanding of the importance of these foci and how they are taking shape worldwide, not just in the U.S. context.   

In addition, when we are in conversation with you and others in the U.S., we want to listen to you and hear about the issues that are important in your communities. When we are together, virtually or in person, we are hoping that these can be times of mutual engagement. Many of the Matthew 25 foci are not new issues to U.S. congregations. Indeed, you have been engaged in these issues in your community, and we want to hear your stories and experiences too!  

In this season of the year, we are especially mindful of and thankful for all of you who have partnered together over the past 10 years. The work we are engaged with in Europe is on behalf of the PC(USA) and this work also takes root in each community where you are located. We appreciate all who read our letters and journey with us and for your prayers and support of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. We look forward to connecting with many of you over the course of this next year.  


Ryan and Alethia  


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