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Together on the Way

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

Fall 2023

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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 and supporters,

While summer is blazing across much of Europe, the Middle East, and the United States, we have similarly been warming up to our plans to spend this coming school year in the U.S. and have been busy finalizing our preparations. We will be in the U.S. starting in August and will be easier to reach from those time zones for the next year! It has been hard to say goodbyes here in Berlin as we have been in a whirlwind of final gatherings among colleagues and friends. Our family was present during Ryan’s final gathering with the International Konvent (network of migrant/international churches in Berlin) and with the church community that we have been working with for the past 10 years. We were warmly sent off by both of these communities as well as by friends. The girls have just had their last day of school and also been well celebrated and shown lots of love from teachers and friends. It is a bittersweet time for us with lots to look forward to and also to grieve as we put a pause on our family life in Berlin.

It has been a full season as well in our capacity as regional liaisons for Northern and Central Europe as we fit in partner visits while we are still on this side of the ocean. Although we will continue in this role during this next year from the U.S. thanks to Zoom and some trips back, we have tried to make face to face contact where possible before we leave Germany. In May, Alethia joined Area Coordinator for the Middle East and Europe Luciano Kovacs to meet with the Protestant Church of Switzerland. Apparently, many decades ago, there was a more active relationship between the PC(USA) and PCS, but this has been dormant in recent years. We were invited by the ecumenical officer to come to Bern and get a better sense of the work the PCS is involved with. It was encouraging to see how much in common both churches have in terms of their areas of focus, especially in the realms of climate care and advocacy, gender and sexuality justice, refugee and migrant work, and congregational vitality initiatives. It was said that Switzerland’s federalist political structure, in its modern form, may have likely been inspired by the political experiment that became the United States in the 1700s. It is a complicated structure even today in which to work and pass social reforms. We came away from our visit with the sense that the PCS is engaged with good work and that there is a good foundation from which to build a further partnership together. Swiss Church Aid (HEKS) is also a partner that PC(USA) already interacts with through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.

Just recently, Alethia returned from a week-long conference in beautiful Olomouc, Czech Republic where the Czech Partnership Network – the mission network of the PC(USA) and Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren (ECCB) – were meeting together as partner congregations from both countries. Alethia often joins the partnership network meetings, and it was good to meet members in person after some years together on Zoom. The theme of the conference was “Together on the Way,” and we discussed ideas of how the church informs family concepts, congregational life, society and the world. There were agreements and disagreements, but always in the spirit of listening to the other’s experience. We can always learn from each other. It was a wonderfully well-organized week, thanks to a great team from the hosting ECCB church in Olomouc and the result of many months of back and forth planning between the two countries. Alethia was happy to reconnect with ECCB partners from a previous visit and to make new connections with U.S. church congregations who were participating. It was inspiring to see how this transatlantic partnership has been kept alive with back-and-forth visits to each other, conferences (online and in person), and sharing ideas, recipes, songs and experiences. T-shirts worn by both Czech and American participants spoke to the back-and-forth visits. The Americans wore shirts with scenes from Prague, and the Czechs wore shirts promoting a particular football team or from Athens, Georgia or from the Washington, D.C./Maryland area. It was delightful to observe the camaraderie in the room during the week.

Does cross-cultural partnership and conversation and friendship appeal to you or your church community? The partnership network is interested in taking on new participating congregations to keep the spirit of friendship and exchange alive and moving forward. There is a website for the network ( or feel free to send a message and we can put you in contact with leaders of the network for further information.

As we prepare to settle into life in the U.S. for the coming year, we look forward to being available for some visits with church communities. Feel free to be in touch if this is of interest.

As always, your support and encouragement are invaluable. Let’s keep the conversation going together!

Greetings from Berlin,

Alethia and Ryan

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