Mission Crossroads

FAL 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/876779

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10 Fall 2017 In the end, it's all about people and relationships." According to Carolyn, before Westminster became involved in Ghana in 2001, they were a congregation whose membership was 99 percent white. But as mission inspired them to reach out to the local community, they have now become a congregation where 20 percent of the nearly 400 members are immigrants from West African countries like Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone. As the West African membership grew, the congregation began to learn and sing traditional Ghanaian songs in worship. Westminster was particularly excited that one of these songs, "Da N'ase," — a paraphrase of Psalm 117 — is hymn 328 and 605 in Glory to God: e Presbyterian Hymnal. Elder Lois Wilson, who has been especially active in reaching out to the I n an age of tightened budgets and more limited financial resources, congregations are understandably counting the cost to engage in mission. Supporting the work of African partner churches in areas like evangelism, poverty reduction and reconciliation does, aer all, take money. At the same time, it is crucial to look beyond simply what it costs to engage in mission. It is equally important to consider how mission gives Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations opportunities to grow in faith and be spiritually nurtured and enriched by our African partners. Let me share with you two stories of U.S. churches that became involved with mission in Ghana, and the impact it has had on their congregations. ese churches are proof that mission partnerships deepen the faith of those directly involved in international mission, while sparking revitalization stateside in new and unexpected ways. Westminster Presbyterian Church in Albany, New York, first became interested in mission in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on American soil. According to Elder Carolyn Smith, the congregation felt a need to "increase awareness of marginalized people in our own community, particularly communities of color and immigrant groups." Around this time, the Westminster congregation met a Ghanaian Presbyterian pastor who was visiting the U.S., the Rev. Alice Kyei-Anti, who convinced them to visit Ghana. Rev. Alice's connection to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) began in the early 1990s, when she worked with World Mission in Malawi, assisting the Malawian Presbyterian partner on its journey to ordain female pastors. Over time, Rev. Alice helped Westminster develop a partnership with Presbyterian Church of Ghana congregations in the port city of Tema, near Ghana's capital, Accra. Because issues like education, health and the environment were affecting the community in Albany, Westminster took a special interest in these areas in Ghana as well. Elder Tom McPheeters, who has been involved with mission in West Africa and Albany, felt there was a special synergy between the two efforts, and that each has gone much further because of contributions from the other. "Community revitalization knows no boundaries," he explained, "even if some of the issues are quite different. It's all about people and relationships U.S. and Ghanaian Presbyterian congregations inspire one another through mission partnerships Josh Heikkila Josh Heikkila Sib Law, a member of First Presbyterian Church of Fairfield, Connecticut, learns how Ghanaian kente cloth is woven.

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