Stewardship matters

Your generosity toward mission co-worker ministry makes relationships and revelations possible

by the Rev. Rosemary C. Mitchell, Mission Engagement and Support | Mission Crossroads

The Rev. Rosemary C. Mitchell

“The Protestant foreign missionary project expected to make the world look more like the United States. Instead, it made the United States look more like the world.”

It is with those provocative words that David A. Hollinger opens his latest work, “Protestants Abroad: How Missionaries Tried to Change the World but Changed America,” a very interesting book that provided me with new insights into a historical role of missionaries.

In his book, Hollinger presents a well-researched understanding of “missionaries” — a term that fell out of favor due to its colonial associations — and how their experience of living in a dramatically different culture changed not only them, but also their relationship with their own denomination. He then goes on to describe the beginnings of what we now call diplomacy. As governments started to require people with language skills and “cultural proficiency,” it was the missionaries who could step in to be the bridge for negotiations. Hollinger’s book is a great read.

In the Presbyterian Church, our “mission co-workers,” as they have been known for more than 50 years, are in relationship with our global partners. It is the global partner who extends the invitation and welcomes a mission co-worker, who is then assigned to specific ministries or a defined role.

One of the many expectations we have of every mission co-worker is that they interpret their ministry to the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. They do that through letters, social media, personal visits and other communications channels. Their words and their visits lift the sights of each person. Their perspectives enlarge our worldview — our understanding of the role of the church in the world — and deepen our grasp of how relationships can become strengthened across boundaries through the power of Jesus Christ.

It is your generosity that has made such revelations and relationships possible, ensuring that church members are served and educated generation after generation. In the act of commissioning mission co-workers biennially at each General Assembly, we acknowledge that they have a special role and purpose in the life of the church, and that they represent the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) wherever they are called to serve. As they receive the PC(USA)’s blessing and go forth with our prayers, they and their families are secure in the knowledge that they will be wholly supported by our national staff in Louisville, who are charged with ensuring their well-being, safety and security.

As a further, tangible way of expressing that the whole church both sends and supports all of our mission co-workers, effective in 2022, we will be inviting the whole church to use one fund, General Sending and Support, E132192, toward this end. Individuals, congregations, mid councils or groups who have a special, close relationship with a specific mission co-worker will be encouraged to make their gift to the one fund “in honor of” [name of person(s)]. The mission co-worker(s) will be notified of the gift and, as always, will gratefully acknowledge it. They will continue to send you their newsletters and plan to visit you to describe their ministries. One of the greatest benefits of having one fund in support of all of the PC(USA)’s mission co-workers is that it will at long last remove the burden of personal fundraising from each mission co-worker.

We hope you will join with others to support the PC(USA) mission co-workers who are currently serving in 80 countries across the globe. The easiest way to make your gift is through your home congregation. If you have any questions, please go here to locate and contact the mission engagement advisor assigned to your region.

Thank you for your support of Presbyterian Mission. We are grateful for your faithfulness, your commitment and your generosity.

The Rev. Rosemary C. Mitchell is senior director of Mission Engagement and Support for the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

Support PC(USA) mission co-workers around the world:

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