Mission Crossroads

SUM 2017

Mission Crossroads is a three-time-a-year magazine focused on worldwide work of the PC(USA). It offers news and feature stories about mission personnel, international partners and grassroots Presbyterians involved in God's mission in the world.

Issue link: https://missioncrossroads.epubxp.com/i/826794

Contents of this Issue


Page 16 of 23

Mission Crossroads 15 mission field. is was "contextual" mission. Finally, the missionary would step back and make space for the indigenous leadership to hold responsibility as "fraternal workers." In 1989 I was sent to the Philippines by the Presbyterian Church through the Worldwide Ministries Division, now World Mission. e paradigms of the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions and COEMAR were now of the past, and what I saw upon arriving in the Philippines was the image of a beautiful garden of Filipino "Presbyterian"— a plant variety that had rooted in the mission field and drawn nutrients from the colors and contours of Filipino culture and indigenous leaders who were planting, pruning and harvesting. e garden had reached self-reliance and was self-propagating, and a new paradigm of relationship in mission was needed. Filipino Presbyterians did not need a missionary leader, they did not need foreign authority for guidance, they did not need a hammer to break the pot; they needed the respect of being an equal partner in the building of God's reign. Sitting around the dinner table with my grandfather and father, I realized it is not easy to let go of the paradigms of our own time. We argued with passion for our understanding of mission — my grandfather for missionary authority and quality control, my father for the contextualizing and turning over leadership, and I for partnership relations where equal respect is given to the partner church to determine its own priorities and needs. However, every day that I live in mission here in the Philippines, I am reminded by the evidence all around me that the pot-bearing planter that my grandfather defends and the pot-breaking fraternal worker that my father defends were essential pieces in God's great design that have brought us to where we are in mission today. Potted plants are now gardens, mission fields are now partners, and Presbyterian mission is alive and well. Carlton J. "Cobbie" Palm is a mission co-worker and director of spiritual formation at Silliman University Divinity School. Dessa Palm works as artistic director for Youth Advocates Through Theater Arts. Grandfather Ralph Waldo Lloyd (front center) with mission teacher colleagues at Westminster College, Salt Lake City James E. Palm, missionary in the Philippines, with his son and future missionary, Cobbie Mission co-worker Carlton "Cobbie" Palm with Bishop Jaime Moriles, a mission partner in Leyte Great-grandfather J. Vernon Bell, pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Dubois, Pennsylvania

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