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Mission Yearbook

Behind bars: Overcrowded, unsanitary, inhumane conditions

“May I humbly convey appreciation to you for your initiative and sponsorship. … Indeed, to me, it was as if I was dreaming until I realized that it was real. Of course, it was my first time to travel by plane. God is gracious, hallelujah!” Presbyterian World Mission received this heartfelt message from the Rev. Wickliff Kang’ombe Zulu, chaplain of the Nkhoma Synod prison, as he expressed gratitude for sponsorship of his attendance at the eighth annual International Conference on Human Rights and Prison Reform (CURE).

Presbyterian agency works to boost child well-being in three states

A national report ranks Louisiana 49th in children’s well-being, but Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services is working to change that. It is also healing children and preserving families in Texas, which ranks 47th in children’s well-being, and Missouri, which ranks 26th.

International Peacemaker from Palestine visits U.S.

The Rev. Alex E. Awad, a peace and justice advocate and former missionary with the United Methodist Church, spoke to U.S. audiences this fall as part of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program’s International Peacemakers initiative. He’s served in Israel/Palestine as an educator and pastor for more than 30 years and spoke about his experiences in the Holy Land, the conditions faced by Palestinians under occupation, the impact of Israeli settlements, and the role of the church in ending the current injustices found in his homeland.

Inspiring partners in mission

As we entered each village, people (especially the women) greeted us with singing, dancing, clapping and broad smiles. During our weeklong mission trip, we visited people and projects in remote villages of the Zomba district in southeastern Malawi assisted by Villages in Partnership (VIP, a nonprofit organization established in 2008 by Presbyterians in New Jersey).

Honduras medical mission team brings healing and hope

She was taken to the clinic with a sore on her heel so deep that bone was exposed. The Achilles tendon had broken away a disintegrated portion of her heel bone. Brought to our makeshift surgical suite at the Manos Amigos clinic in La Entrada, Honduras, the patient was touched by people in our medical mission team who used their God-given gifts in the most compassionate, flexible and ingenious ways, despite lacking the technology they would have had in the United States. Used in the surgery were some samples of a new skin-growing material that just happened to have been donated to a podiatrist on our team.

Synod includes men in #MeToo talks

When the #MeToo hashtag exploded on the social media scene in October 2017, no one could have predicted its continued impact on the treatment of women both in and out of the workplace. For a while, #MeToo seemed to be more about bringing down famous people in big corporations or enterprises, like Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer. Hollywood is one thing, but harassment isn’t supposed to happen in churches, right?

Ministry in the halls of power

Faith is not just personal; it’s political. Our leaders pass laws about how we treat one another, laws about money and more. The Bible addresses these issues as well in Scriptures like the Ten Commandments, the parable of the sheep and the goats, Sabbath rules and Jesus’ advice to the rich young ruler to sell his possessions and give to the poor. To say the Bible and Jesus are not political is to deny their influence and relevance to our lives in the 21st century.

Small Hunger Action Congregation uses food pantry to impact community

“I’m just the pastor. This congregation rocks!” That’s the outlook of Kirk Perucca, pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church. This small, ethnically diverse congregation south of downtown Kansas City, Missouri, has been a Presbyterian Hunger Program Certified Hunger Action Congregation since 2017, but has been advocating hunger, fairness and justice issues for most of its 110-year-plus existence.

‘A Social Creed for the 21st Century’ turns 10

“People sometimes look at 20-to-40-page reports on energy, tax policy or end-of-life issues and ask, ‘Do you have something shorter?’ Well, the ‘Social Creed’ is that concise statement of what the churches stand for, deliberately avoiding ‘hot button’ language,” said Christian Iosso, coordinator for the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy for the PC(USA). “The Trinitarian format, loved by the Orthodox churches, was suggested by Patty Chapman, a marketing executive as well as Christian educator who served on the Presbyterian writing committee.”

Minute for Mission Reformation Sunday

Not long after Roman Catholic Mary Tudor rose to the English throne in 1553, the outspoken Scottish reformer John Knox felt compelled to leave the British Isles. After a spell in Frankfurt, Knox joined a fellowship of religious refugees from across Europe who had thronged to Geneva.