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The Installation of Reverend Banda

A Letter from Tyler Holm, serving in Malawi

October 2019

Write to Tyler Holm

Individuals: Give to E200532 for Tyler Holm’s sending and support

Congregations: Give to D507572 for Tyler Holm’s sending and support

Faculty of Theology: Give to E052124 to support the University of Livingstonia Faculty of Theology

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

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The University of Livingstonia, Faculty of Theology, where I teach, was first opened in 2003 due to the very real shortage of trained ministers within the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP). Over the past sixteen years over a hundred ministers have been trained, helping to alleviate this need. The workload demanded of each minister is still extremely high; churches are all solo pastorates without associate pastors, and most pastors are additionally responsible for multiple locations with a mother church and daughter prayer houses, in addition to the many calls on a pastor as a community leader. While the need is not quite as dire as it was a few years ago, many congregations still desire to have a minister of their own. And so, while the Faculty of Theology has grown and diversified by offering our Open and Distance Learning (ODL) program which attracts many who are called to secular vocations, or our Masters in Arts in Theology program, the original intention of the faculty to train ministers to serve the church remains strong.

With our identity in academic training of ministers for the Synod of Livingstonia and beyond, our year is marked by celebrations of milestones as students journey through their studies and are installed in churches. Typically, students who are interested in serving as CCAP ministers have already been interviewed by their home congregations, presbyteries and the synod before they enroll with us. Then they study in our residential program for three years before being licensed by a presbytery. At this point, they may leave the academic program with a diploma or continue on for a fourth year to earn a Bachelor’s degree. After graduating, the CCAP Synod finds and assigns them to a particular congregation to serve in; unlike the PC(USA) call system, the synod has this important responsibility. After a period of a few months, the congregation officially hosts an installation ceremony to welcome the new minister to their first call in a church.

Although I would love to see every student’s installation ceremony, I am unable to attend all of them, as many end up being scheduled on the same date in various different locations, while others take place all across the synod. Some may be eight or more hours away from our home in Mzuzu. But those that I am able to attend are among the highlights of the year for me. Recently I was able to go down to Jenda, in central Malawi, and attend the installation service of one of our graduates, Reverend Thandwayo Banda.

I have spoken of Rev. Banda before. He was an outstanding student and is a leader among his colleagues. His story is one of great perseverance. He was raised by his grandparents in a small and remote village with limited educational opportunities. His dedication attracted the attention of both his grandmother and a local minister, Rev. Sibande, who pushed him to continue his studies despite the challenges. As a student at our university, his humility and generosity drew the attention of staff and students. His installation service was attended by several university staff members as well as area ministers. Having the opportunity to meet his grandmother and see the community that has surrounded Rev. Banda for years was important to me. It was a reminder of the part we may all play in each other’s journeys, and God’s intention that in community we are all dependent on one another. This congregation had not had a pastor of their own for several years, and the joy and excitement they felt in having Rev. Banda serve alongside their community demonstrates that the original purpose of the Faculty of Theology is still valid. This work is made possible through the spiritual and financial support of many friends like you around the world—thank you. While the need for trained ministers may not be quite as extreme as it was sixteen years ago, the need is still real.

Please continue to support our ministry and the work of the University of Livingstonia. The work of the PC(USA) partnering with the CCAP is not possible without your generosity, and we thank you for your continued support. You can support my position with the University of Livingstonia through E200532 (Congregations D507572) and the growing programs of the Faculty of Theology through E052124.

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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