A letter from Ryan and Alethia White, serving in the Iranian Presbyterian Church in Berlin
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Dear friends and supporters,
We join you in welcoming the new year and all the unknowns it brings. We have a few news items to share as we look ahead. As we have already communicated, our role has been changing over the past few years and was made official last year. This has meant slowly making a transition away from the church community here in Berlin as we step more fully into our role as regional liaisons for northern and central Europe. After many, many months of planning and talks with those who will be carrying the work forward in the church, there is a plan now in place for Ryan to step away from the church as pastor. A leader of the church in Iran, now living in Germany, will come to Berlin on a semi-regular basis to assist the church community and provide support.
As regional liaisons, we continue to make connections with European partners and build a working relationship with new partnerships. This aspect of our new role is very exciting and fun for us as we get to know the work and personalities of these partnerships. We look forward to more of this in the coming year. Ryan will be in the Netherlands soon for a debrief with PC(USA) colleagues who will be in the region to examine the work being done to assist Ukrainians. Alethia will go to Switzerland in the spring as a new partnership is being established with the Reformed Church of Switzerland and is on the planning team for a conference in early summer with regional partners in the Middle East and Europe working with people on the move (refugees and migrants). We look forward to sharing the results of these plans.
On a personal note, we would like to share that we are also facing a transition as a family as we plan to spend much of this coming school year in the States. While there are exciting aspects of this, it will also mean lots of changes for our family and work routine. It means we will be settling the girls into the school year in the U.S. for the first time and continuing our work from there but will require occasional trips back to meet with partners. For the girls, this will be the longest period of time they have spent in the U.S. For us, this will be the longest period we have spent in the U.S. in the last 10 years and can imagine all the things that have changed since we last lived there. In a way, it is like adapting to a new country. We also plan to spend some time visiting with churches and partners in the U.S. so please stay in touch if this is of interest to you or your church.
Projects are going forward this year even during our absence, which is a good thing. One such project is the volunteer program, hosted by our partner Berliner Missionswerk (Berlin Mission). We hope to host two volunteers from the U.S. starting this coming September here in Berlin for 10 months. Volunteers will be involved in different projects through two parish communities in and around Berlin. Berliner Missionswerk will incorporate the volunteers into their seminar program to introduce them to German culture, history, and language. This also offers the U.S. participants the opportunity to get to know other volunteers, who come from other countries and backgrounds. We are personally quite excited about this opportunity and hope that others will be, too. If this program sounds like it would be of interest to you or someone you know, please do be in touch with Alethia at email@example.com. There will be some assistance with expenses and in general should be quite low-cost for the participants. More information can be shared for those interested.
We thank you for your support especially as we are facing lots of transitions in the coming months. We hope you will share our excitement for continuing projects. We would be remiss to say we are not anxious for the next steps, but we do walk forward in hope. Join us.
Ryan and Alethia
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Tags: Berliner Missionswerk, ryan and alethia white
Tags: Ryan and Alethia White
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