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Eastern Europe Partnership Network Toolkit: Engage

What does “engage” mean for the Eastern Europe Partnership Network?

In international mission, to engage is to begin working with and toward relationships. Engagement is the step that takes you beyond learning and connecting into investment and working to discern what God is calling you, your congregation, and community to be involved with.

The first step in engaging may be by connecting with the existing community of the Eastern Europe Partnership Network and learning what the network is and does. This can happen through an invested look through the toolkit, and from participating in activities sponsored by the network. From there, often a determination can be made as to how to engage more deeply.

From your engagement with the Eastern Europe Partnership Network, you may decide to explore establishing a partnership with a church or organization in Eastern Europe.

Exploring Partnership

Over the past 20-plus years, some PC(USA) churches have built a “twinning” relationship, or partnership, with churches in Russia, and their shared commitments to mission, friendship and faith have led to long-lasting results. There are many resources available to describe these partnerships and the work they achieved together. For example, Regional Liaison Ellen Smith details these partnerships in her Mission Connections letters, found here.

However, just as the Eastern Europe Partnership Network was beginning to seek out similar relationships in Belarus and Ukraine, the Russian invasion of Ukraine forced churches to cancel travel plans and find new ways to stay connected with their partner churches.

During this time, the network, with the help of Ellen, has been exploring other ways to serve in Eastern Europe, especially in neighboring countries, and to establish new mission partnerships. See some of the partner organizations from Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Moldova in the Connect Section of the toolkit.

When your discernment process identifies a desire to explore establishing a relationship with a mission partner in Eastern Europe, your engagement will take on its own character and be reflective of the people or group who are engaged. From there, engagement will grow and adjust based on the person or group.

Resources for building a long-term engagement with a mission partner include:

  • Presbyterians Do Mission in Partnership (English)
    The practice of partnership guides our whole connectional church. It guides us individually as members, officers and pastors. It guides us collectively as congregations, presbyteries, synods, General Assembly ministries and related institutions. This document paraphrases a policy statement adopted by the 215th General Assembly (2003) regarding mission in partnership.
  • Eastern Europe Partnership Network (EEPN)
    Members of the Eastern Europe Partnership Network, who have years of experience in working with partner churches in Russia, can provide practical guidance in building relationships, leading trips to visit your partner, hosting visits from your partner and engaging your congregation in the mission.
    Contact: Jean Waters, EEPN Communications leader
    Visit: EEPN Facebook page (public)
    EEPN also has a private Facebook Group to provide more security for our partners.

Other Ways to Engage

  • The Office of Public Witness is the public policy information and advocacy office of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Its task is to advocate, and help the church to advocate, the social witness perspectives and policies of the Presbyterian General Assembly. The church has a long history of applying these biblically and theologically based insights to issues that affect the public — maintaining a public policy ministry in the nation’s capital since 1946. The Office of Public Witness recently promoted a conference in partnership with other protestant churches and the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren. This particular opportunity has passed, but there are contacts and information about the partnership.
  • Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) is the emergency and refugee program of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). See some of the specific assistance they’re providing to Ukraine at
  • The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program offers a variety of opportunities, including study trips.
    Read an article about a recent trip to Lithuania.

Additional resources