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Mission Matters


A bi-monthly update from World Mission, a ministry of the Presbyterian Mission Agency

The Mission Matters column addresses the impact of Presbyterian mission in the world and the issues that affect mission co-workers, the people we walk alongside and assist in service to God, and our partners around the globe.

May 2022 – Forging a path to become a more relevant church for the 21st Century

World Mission has entered the rebuilding phase of the Vision Implementation Process, focused on developing existing staff to serve in new ways and to deepen our ministry’s commitment to becoming a Matthew 25 Church.

Through this commitment we are developing, creating and adapting our work to become a more relevant church for the 21st century.

By partnering with mid councils, global partners and congregations, we have committed to radical and fearless discipleship by embracing one or more of three areas of focus:

  • Building congregational vitality by challenging people and congregations to deepen their faith and get actively and joyfully engaged with their community and the world.
  • Dismantling structural racism by advocating and acting to break down the systems, practices and thinking that underlie discrimination, bias, prejudice and oppression of people of color.
  • Eradicating systemic poverty by working to change laws, policies, plans and structures in our society that perpetuate economic exploitation of people who are poor.

Sara Lisherness, PMA’s Deputy Executive Director of Mission programs, has asked me to step away from regionally focused tasks to take on the role of Acting Director of World Mission so she can focus on deepening the collaboration among the four ministry areas: Theology, Formation & EvangelismRacial Equity & Women’s Intercultural MinistriesCompassion Peace & Justice; and World Mission.

Hery Ramambasoa is now Acting Area Coordinator for Asia-Pacific. He brings an extensive worldview along with a deep compassion to this role, and we are grateful for his faithful commitment. Hery will continue to follow through on tasks related to his job as the Regional Liaison for Southeast Asia and the Pacific while we identify someone to take on that role.

Ellen Sherby has begun her duties as director for a new area of Presbyterian World Mission called Global Connections. Global Connections will accompany international partners and provide mission education resources and connections to Presbyterians in the United States.

She previously served as the coordinator of Equipping for Mission Involvement. Her new role will include EMI as well as supervision of the area office coordinators for Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East and Europe. Training, resourcing and community-building events will move to this area as well. We believe closer proximity of these offices will provide better coordination and collaboration in program development.

Sandra Duverge will move her portfolio of work focused on training, resourcing and community- building events to the EMI team. Tamron Keith, Associate Director for Finance and Administration, will spend about one-quarter of his time leading the newly formed PMA grants centralization table. Tamron will be able to share on a broader scale his analytic, organization and problem-solving skills to guide a creative process to re-envision ways to centralize grants.

Destini Hodges, Coordinator of the Young Adult Volunteer Program has begun reporting to me. I am hopeful, with my background in young adult ministries, we can work closely together to develop and execute strategies to involve more young adults in the future of our church.

Human resource functions managed and coordinated by the mission personnel team, and in finance and administration, will move to Human Resources in the Administrative Services Group (ASG) where all other PMA HR functions are currently housed. The placement of the work is simply shifting. The client support model is not. 

Lydia Kim, Octavia Coleman, Katie Rhodes and Suzan Cantrell will continue to support mission personnel within the broader HR team as well as develop and implement more consistent, standard processes across the PMA. While this is exciting news for our colleagues, it is bittersweet to know they will no longer be embedded in World Mission, but we will continue to interact on a regular basis

I am deeply grateful to colleagues who have agreed to serve in new roles and lean into new organizational structures. Our Louisville staff and ministries and our 78 mission co-workers serving in 80 countries are embracing new and innovative ideas, but we remain grounded in a holistic vision of the gospel, an allegiance to doing mission in partnership and a commitment to collaborating with mission leaders across our church.

Rev. Mienda Uriarte, Acting Director of World Mission
May 10, 2022

Mission Matters Archives