From the Worldwide Faith News archives


Date 05 May 1996 12:56:55


                          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 
Ministries International. 
      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   Web page: 


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