From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Thuma Mina presents its final season

Date 20 Jun 2002 14:26:55 -0400

Note #7290 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:


Thuma Mina presents its final season

by Midge Mack

COLUMBUS, OH - The Presbyterian Church (USA) will miss them. Sadly, budget cuts will soon eliminate the powerful and inspiring performances of Thuma Mina, the Mission Theatre Company, a special project of mutual mission in the General Assembly Council's Worldwide Ministries Division (WMD).

Blending psalm and parable, dance and drama, song and story into a seamless presentation that never fails to touch the hearts of its audiences Thuma Mina, a Zulu phrase meaning "Send Me, Lord" has offered its message, the sharing and understanding of God's word in diverse cultures, for the past six years. This year's production, "Eyes to See" will close the season and the project July 28 at the Pacific Southwest Conference on World Mission, after 151 performances in 40 presbyteries since 1997.

Each season's script has stressed the concept of strangers coming to new places where language and customs differ, spending time with the people. They could go away again as strangers. Yet, if they can listen, if they can open their eyes and their hearts, they will leave as brothers and sisters in God's love.

Corey Nelson, a WMD staff member, created the idea of dramatizing the experiences of young adult volunteers in mission while he was a student at McCormick Theological Seminary. He came to the WMD in 1998 and has produced each season's show and managed each year's team. 

Paul Osborne, church educator at Central Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, directs the productions. Osborne hears and then dramatizes the stories of the young missionaries' experiences abroad. Always included is someone from abroad who has come to the United States via the PC(USA)'s Mission to the USA program.

Members of the 2002 cast of "Eyes to See: are

* Leslie Boone, a Pittsburgh native and currently a student at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. She recently served on a music team going to Malawi, Central Africa, a project of Pittsburgh Presbytery.

* Tatiana Valdez, born in Nicaragua and a member of a Christian Base Community there, where she was a youth leader, catechist and teacher. Here she served at Riviera Presbyterian Church, in Miami.

* Gretchen Wolbrink, a member of Parkway Presbyterian Church in Corpus Christi, Texas, has studied in Mexico and served as a Young Adult Volunteer in Guatemala. She is currently a student at McCormick Theological Seminary.

* Dianne Wright, a native of Edisto Island, S.C., is a member of New Harvest Presbyterian Church in Florence, S.C. She is founder and director of the Kuumba Center for Christian Education and Spiritual Growth there. She led a presbytery-wide mission trip to Trinidad as part of the presbytery's international partnership.

* Corey Nelson, a graduate of McCormick Seminary, has served in Northern Ireland and in Ghana, West Africa. 
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