From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
MEETINGS ARE PLANNED TO STRENGTHEN TIES
05 May 1996 12:56:55
95084 MEETINGS ARE PLANNED TO STRENGTHEN TIES
BETWEEN CHURCH AND OTHER MISSION GROUPS
by Alexa Smith
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--Two gatherings to draw together networks of Presbyterians
engaged in international mission are being planned for spring and fall by
the Worldwide Ministries Division (WMD).
The two scheduled events are:
* an extended family gathering of representatives from at least 30
groups at the General Assembly in Cincinnati (including the Medical
Benevolence Foundation, the Koral Global Mission Network and Borderlinks)
* beginning discussions with five independent groups (Presbyterian and
Reformed Renewal Ministries International [PRRMI], Presbyterian Order for
World Evangelization, Literacy and Evangelism International, Alongside
Ministries and Knox Fellowship) who claim PC(USA) connections and who send
out mission personnel.
"The heart of the concern is to focus not only what Worldwide
Ministries Division does in mission, but how we engage Presbyterians who
are engaged in mission," said the Rev. Cliff Kirkpatrick, WMD director.
"We're gather[ing] the network of Presbyterians."
The family gathering is set for 1:30-9 p.m. Saturday, July 15, at the
Regal Hotel in Cincinnati. It is designed for more informal networking and
getting acquainted, according to the Rev. Lois Swanson of Aitkin, Minn., a
member of the planning committee.
Swanson said participants have many different understandings of
mission. The gathering, she hopes, will enable diverse groups to "feel
themselves part of a whole ... instead of apart from each other."
It is designed, according to the Rev. Patricia Lloyd-Sidle, Mission to
the U.S.A. director here, in the "spirit of reconciliation" that came out
of the last Assembly. "We want to do a better job of talking and listening
to each other, of seeking our commonalities as Presbyterians committed to
mission in the worldwide arena," she said.
The second meeting is designed to find ways of relating to groups
already functioning within the PC(USA) but without a formal relationship to
Invitations are to be sent this week and the suggested meeting date is
Oct. 5-6 in Louisville.
After discussion about contemporary meanings of an 1837 General
Assembly mandate that only the denomination's board of foreign missions
represent Presbyterians overseas, the Rev. John Fife of Tucson said, "We're
in the process of shifting ground from the 1837 policy and vision. That
vision is no longer viable for the PC(USA)."
The committee also approved guidelines for more collaborative mission
in Brazil between the division and Presbyterian and Reformed Renewal
The agreement between PRRMI and the PC(USA) opens up communication
about projects each undertakes in Brazil and looks for ways visions of the
two entities may merge. PRRMI sends out short-term mission teams trained
in long-term congregational renewal and leadership development to Taiwan,
Brazil, the Philippines and New Zealand.
"This does represent a shift," said the Rev. Brad Long, executive
director of PRRMI, speaking of the denomination's decision to develop more
partnerships within its own fold. "This is a very creative awareness that
the Holy Spirit is at work in a multitude of ways in advancing the Kingdom
of God. ... This represents a wonderful vision of how to do missions."
# # #
For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
phone 502-569-5504 fax 502-569-8073
E-mail PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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