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‘Let us fix our eyes on Jesus’

New Wilmington Mission Conference celebrates its 114th year

by Tammy Warren | Presbyterian News Service

Ellen Sherby, coordinator of Equipping for Mission Involvement, reads to children during a previous New Wilmington Mission Conference. (Photo courtesy of NWMC)

LOUISVILLE — The 114th New Wilmington Mission Conference (NWMC), regarded as the oldest annual mission conference in the U.S., will be held July 19-26 on the campus of Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pa.

The conference brings together hundreds of individuals and families from the local area as well as some 30 states and 20 countries for all or a portion of the weeklong gathering. The 2019 conference theme comes from Hebrews 12:2: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” During the week, the biblical theme comes to life through creative programming for all ages, infants through adults.

For generations, young and old alike have made it an annual tradition to attend NWMC. It’s a casual and relaxed time to reflect and discern the call to be a “missionary” at home, school, work, church or another country.

The Rev. Virginia “Ginny” Teitt, director of NWMC and organizing pastor of Concord Presbyterian Church in Marysville, Ohio, has attended conference since 1997 and served in many roles, including helping to develop the post-college GAP program for attendees in their 20s and 30s who are transitioning from schooling and training to professional careers, ministries and mission calls. “GAP is a wonderful place to ask questions, discern next steps and have fun,” Teitt said. “GAP participants attend mission presentations offered by the adult tracks and have a program-specific evening vespers service and social events. It’s a place for anyone to be, belong and grow.”

The Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, will preach during conference worship on Sunday, July 21. (Photo by Randy Hobson)

Each day there are opportunities to engage with various mission organizations, networks and Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) co-workers serving around the globe.

  • The Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), will preach at Anderson Auditorium on Sunday morning. Prior to becoming Stated Clerk, Nelson served as director of the PC(USA)’s Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C. (11 a.m. on Sunday, July 21)
  • The Rev. Jose Luis Casal, director of Presbyterian World Mission, will lead a Monday afternoon workshop, “Mission from the Neighborhood to the World,” and speak about “Matthew 25: Mission from the Margins” during international worship Monday evening. Casal, a native of Cuba, previously served for 15 years as General Presbyter of the Presbytery of Tres Rios in West Texas. Based on Scripture in Matthew 25:31-46, the Matthew 25 Invitation of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is a movement that calls Presbyterian congregations and mid councils to actively engage in the world around them so that “our faith comes alive and we wake up to new possibilities.” (Monday, July 22, afternoon workshop and plenary session at 7:45 p.m.)
  • The 2019 Summer Service team — young adult scholarship recipients and their leader — are completing a six-week mission. They will return just in time to share what God is doing in Ethiopia. This is the 60th year the NWMC has sent out a Summer Service team. (7:45 p.m. on Thursday, July 25)
  • Sudan and South Sudan Mission Network (July 22–23)
    For details, contact Denise Sciuto.
  • Niger Mission Network (July 23–25)
    For details, contact Don Dawson or Greg Cohen.
  • The Rev. Michael and Rachel Ludwig, mission co-workers serving alongside the Evangelical Church of the Republic of Niger, will be working with juniors at the conference, children who have completed grades 3–5. In West Africa, their work with church partners focuses on theological education and training leaders in community health evangelism.
  • Other mission co-workers planning to attend NWMC include Lynn and Sharon Kandel, regional liaisons for the Horn of Africa, working with the South Sudan Education and Peacebuilding Project and supporting mission co-workers and working in partnership with global partners in Sudan, Ethiopia, South Sudan and the U.S.; the Bob and Kristi Rice, mission co-workers in South Sudan since 2017, and previously for seven years in the Democratic Republic of Congo; and Rev. César Carhuachín, a mission co-worker in Colombia since 2013.
  • A regional gathering of Presbyterian Women also will be held in conjunction with the conference. (July 19–20)

The Rev. Jose Luis Casal, director of  Presbyterian World Mission, center, will speak to the conference during the evening of Monday, July 22. (Photo by Tammy Warren)

On-campus housing and meals are covered in the registration fee. All events and mission network gatherings are free and open to the public. Learn more and register here. For questions, contact conference staff at

For those who can’t attend the full week, a weekend special rate covers all activities from Friday through Sunday, July 19–21. If you can’t attend, visit NWMC’s YouTube Channel to watch the recorded presentations.

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