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Presbyterian World Mission will enter 2022 with two new regional liaisons

World Mission works to recruit and fill several open positions

by Kathy Melvin | Presbyterian News Service

Presbyterian World Mission includes 78 mission co-workers serving in more than 80 countries around the world.

LOUISVILLE — Presbyterian World Mission is moving forward into 2022, hiring new mission co-workers, building on the Matthew 25 vision and working with its global partners to focus on partnership and mutuality.

Emerging from the challenges of a global pandemic and looking ahead to the rebuilding phase of the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s visioning process, the Rev. Philip Woods, associate director for strategy and program, says World Mission has emerged with new and creative ways to connect people across the globe in lifechanging ministry.

“The pandemic has forced us all to experiment with connecting digitally and in doing so we have discovered new ways to bring the voices and witness of our global partners to PC(USA) congregations in shared worship, mutual learning and collective action,” said Woods. “It has been and continues to be an amazing experience that we can connect so easily.”

Recently World Mission has recruited and appointed new regional liaisons for Latin America and the Caribbean, bringing the total to 78 mission co-workers serving in more than 80 countries around the world. Recruitment is underway to fill several more positions.

In 2021, World Mission distributed $1.63 million, impacting 46 countries, to support the ministries of PMA’s global partners working through ministries of poverty eradication, healing, teaching and other practical expressions of discipleship in their own context.

Earlier this year, World Mission’s strategic planning process became part of PMA’s visioning process, lifting up and strengthening the voice of global partners. A key recommendation from the report is to create a global partners advisory council to provide PMA guidance in what ministry in the global context should look like.

The Rev. Lydia Neshangwe

Rev. Lydia Neshangwe, pastor of St. Andrews Church and clerk of the Presbytery of Zimbabwe, who led a Bible study for the Leadership Innovation Team, was quoted in the report. She cited the story about teaching others to fish: “Give me a fish, and I eat for a day; teach me to fish and I eat for a lifetime.” Her point, she said, is “instead of thinking that you can teach me to fish, come fish with me by the Zambezi River,” and together we can learn about fishing.

That insight created another important recommendation that emerged from the process, a recommendation on the importance of relationships.

The Rev. Philip Woods is World Mission’s associate director for strategy and program.

“In World Mission we understand that in a world challenged by incredible levels of injustice, we cannot witness and work alone,” said Woods. “If we want to make a difference, as we believe our faith calls us to, we need partners and we need to truly come alongside them, listening to and acting on what those most impacted have to say to us both locally and globally.”

The Matthew 25 vision is designed to bring about “radical and fearless discipleship” among congregations and mid councils by engaging in three targeted missions: building congregational vitality, dismantling structural racism and eradicating systemic poverty.

In October, the Presbyterian Mission Agency board voted overwhelmingly to advance the process from the visioning stage into the rebuilding phase by approving the Identity, Vision and Mission Statements that will guide the next Mission Work Plan.

PMA’s president and executive director, the Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett, says living into this new vision will take time.  It is an iterative process, she says, and estimates 30–42 months to fully live into the new vision, though smaller steps may happen sooner.

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