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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Page 8 of 23

Mission Crossroads 7 Opening doors to abundant life through education Partner churches help women and girls reach their full potential Janet Guyer W hen I ask women church leaders in Africa about important issues, the need for women to be able to support their families always comes up first. Closely tied to this concern is the need for education, as it is the surest way for people to be able to get ahead. Education can take on many forms at different ages and stages. Early childhood is a time of rapid brain growth and development, which affects how children will be able to learn and care for themselves as adults. Many churches are beginning to address the needs of children from birth through school age. Early childhood development centers work with children ages 3 to 6. Livingstonia Synod of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) in northern Malawi began focusing on these overlooked children of God in 2008. Today, about 35,000 children attend 500 care centers in urban and rural areas. A young pastor in the church credits this program with giving him the start he needed to be able to get to where he is today. Primary and secondary schools are operated by most of World Mission's partner churches in Africa. One area of concern of the women's leadership in many churches is the ratio of male to female high school graduates. Church partners see a fairly even number of boys and girls entering school, but only half as many girls graduating from high school. In the near future, partner churches will be working on some creative ways to keep girls in school. Community schools were developed as an outreach ministry when congregations noticed orphaned or vulnerable children of school age who were not in school in their communities. At present, there are 30 community schools of the CCAP's Zambia Synod. Higher education is also considered critical for the future of the church and the country. Many partner churches have or are in the process of opening universities in response to the growing need for higher education. In the countries in which I work — Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia — only about 32–40 percent of the universities' students are women, and the gender difference is even greater in theological education. e Women's Department of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus has started an initiative to support more women in theological training. Each woman in the church is asked to contribute 8 birr (34 cents) to support PROMOTE WOMEN AND CHILDREN'S INTERESTS Support Janet's work in South Africa. pcusa.org/donate/E200351 Janet Guyer This community school in Zambia outgrew its space in the sanctuary, so an extra classroom block was built. the theological education of women. Currently, 32 young women are in school thanks to these contributions. World Mission partner churches have found many creative ways to work toward making education attainable. ey are seeking God's guidance in facilitating the way for more women and men to receive the education that is their right and their hope. The Rev. Janet Guyer is a PC(USA) mission co-worker who serves as facilitator for women and children's interests in the African countries of Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia.

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