Western Pennsylvania and Africa on Sunday celebrated the 25th anniversary of Presbyterians churches at east liberty Presbyterian Church.
One of the three representatives of the South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church Revered Deng Bol Atem told dozens of people from two continents who crowded into a room on the Westminster college campus on Tuesday, that it was ‘By the grace of God we are here,’.
According to a press statement made available to Malawi News Agency (MANA), it was one of many activities marking the 25th anniversary of partnership between Presbyterians in western Pennsylvania and Africa originally those in Malawi and later Malawi expanding to include south Sudan.
Chairperson of the international church partnership executive committee Revered David carver said he cannot think of any better way to revitalize churches commitment to faith and being world citizens than being engaged in an intentional church partnership.
“The partnership as envisioned by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) was seen as an alternative to traditional understandings of missions in which a church in a wealthier country sends workers to help a poorer one. This model is as partnership of equal, with each having ways of helping others,” read the statement.
On his remarks General Secretary of the Church of Central Africa Presbytery Blantyre Synod Revered Alex Maulana said American Presbyterians have preached in Malawi and been able to donate towards projects such as education and drilling of water well.
He added that they have also learned from Malawian churches reliance on lay leaders to compensate for the small number of ordained clergy.
“We share the word of God, we are given pulpits so the voice of Africa is heard in the sanctuaries of America,” said Maulana.
He further explained that Malawian churches are growing both through conversion births and their visitors often comment on the relatively few number of babies in the American churches with their graying and shrinking ranks.
“There is the capitalization of interest in young people because of the leaders who involve them in mission,” said Maulana.
The statement further reads; “members of South Sudan delegation spoke of how most of their church buildings had been destroyed in the recent civil war of the young nation and that many of its members were dispersed throughout the continent.”
Rev. Deng said that he and his fellow south Sudanese were encouraged to know that American Presbyterians were following news of the fighting and supporting them spiritually.
“As with everything else in the partnership the support has been mutual, we are praying for them they are praying for us,” said Rev. Deng.
Source: Malawi News Agency – MANA