The World Mission Committee (WMC) of the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church exists to support and interpret the world mission of the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America (PCUSA) for the Swarthmore congregation. To that end it:
1. Seeks to educate the congregation about Christian mission around the world;
2. Initiates and encourages direct financial support for selected mission co-workers through the annual budget and extra commitment opportunities made possible through the General Assembly office of the church;
3. Maintains continuing contact with selected mission co-workers in the field and arranges educational opportunities for them to report to the congregation during home assignment; and
4. Seeks opportunities for members of the congregation to visit mission co-workers and, as temporary volunteers on a particular assignment, serve with them overseas.
WMC functions as an arm of the Outreach Committee and reports to Session through that committee.
SPC members interested in joining the World Mission Committee, or looking for more information, should contact WMC chair Tom Stephenson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mission Co-workers Supported by Swarthmore Presbyterian Church
The Presbyterian Church (USA) website has great in-depth, organized information about Presbyterian mission co-workers around the globe. Visit The Presbyterian Church (USA) Worldwide page to learn more and to sign up for their monthly newsletters. Links to specific pages on the PC(USA) website where Swarthmore Presbyterian Church supports mission co-workers are highlighted below.
Justin and Renée Sundberg, Nicaragua
Renée and Justin believe three wonderful things happen when people from the United States connect to the needs of Nicaraguans. “Nicaraguan hearts are filled with hope, North American hearts get patched up, and real economic change can take root in Nicaragua,” Justin says.
Renée and Justin will strive to facilitate the changing of hearts and circumstances as they coordinate the visits of US Presbyterians in Nicaragua. Groups visit Nicaragua expecting to experience new adventures and help Nicaraguans, Justin observes. “But their blessing will be greater still as they seek to give themselves in service,” he explains. “Their personal poverties will be laid bare and God will meet them. We are very excited to facilitate this and create a space for it.”
For more background on the Sundbergs and letters and pictures telling the stories of their work in the field, visit the PCUSA Mission Connections page: Justin and Renee Sundberg.
Nicaragua Mission Trips
For several years, on an every other year basis, adult SPC members - often members of SPC's High School Youth Group - and others from the community have traveled to Nicaragua to meet and work with some of the people we support. In June 2015 a group of college students, shepherded by SPC member Tom Stephenson and our Partners in Ministry colleague, Joyce Tompkins, continued this tradition. For details, visit our Nicaragua Mission Trip page.
Rev. Kate Taber, Israel - Palestine
Our newest mission co-worker, Rev. Kate Taber, began this ministry early in 2014. Kate serves as a Facilitator of Peacemaking and Mission Partnerships; she is tasked with be resourcing and equipping Presbyterian congregations for the purpose of enabling effective Christian witness and facilitating peacemaking opportunities.
In Kate's words: "This means I will be facilitating encounters between travel groups and mission partners, reporting on current issues and events here, and through various venues attempting to share stories of the lives and ministries of Palestinian Christians. Part of my time will be spent supporting the ministry of Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, pastored by Rev. Mitri Raheb."
For more background on Kate and to access letters and stories of her work in the field, visit the PCUSA Mission Connections page: Rev. Kate Taber.
John and Gwenda Fletcher, Democratic Republic of Congo
In January 2009, John and Gwenda Fletcher were appointed to serve with the Presbyterian Community of Congo (CPC) in the Kasai region of Democratic Republic of the Congo. This is by no means their first acquaintance with the Congo. The Fletchers were first appointed mission personnel by the PC(USA) in 1989, and they served in the Congo until January of 2001. Both John and Gwenda grew up as children of Presbyterian mission workers in India.
John works with the Christian Medical Institute of the Kasai (IMCK), helping the staff build and maintain a unified network of all the CPC's mission hospitals. Although John's primary surgical responsibilities are at the Good Shepherd Hospital, his broader charge is to work with the CPC medical director in support of the CPC medical program. He teaches medical residents, medical students, and nursing students at the IMCK and other mission hospitals.
Gwenda fills a position that World Mission has long been recruiting for: education consultant. She works with the CPC, helping the church with teacher training, administration, and community involvement. The CPC came out of the efforts of the American Presbyterian Congo Mission, which existed from 1891 to 1970, and has been a fully autonomous church since 1961. The CPC serves a large part of the population in West and East Kasai through its ministries of evangelism, health, education, and development.
For more background on the Fletchers and to access letters and stories of their work in the field, visit the PCUSA Mission Connections page: Dr. John and Gwenda Fletcher.
Carlton "Cobbie" and Dessa Quesada Palm, Philippines
Serving in the Philippines since 1989, Cobbie is currently Director of Spiritual Formation at the Divinity School at Silliman University. Silliman University is the country's first Protestant school, founded in 1901 by the Presbyterian Church (USA). He has recently been named Director of the new International Center for Mission Studies in Asia, a cooperative project shared by United Evangelical Mission, United Church of Christ in the Philippines, and Silliman University.
Dessa has been in Dumaguete for the past six years organizing young people and women in theater and music to advocate for social issues affecting them. She received a Fullbright Scholarship and has a Masters in International Studies from New York University.
A current project near and dear to both Cobbie and Dessa is Silliman Water, a ministry that is working to provide clean drinking water in the communities they serve. Our Hunger Group now supports this effort with funding. A detailed summary the project is included in one of the Palms' recent letters: Silliman H2O For more information on Cobbie and Dessa and to read their letters visit the PCUSA Mission Connections page: Cobbie and Dessa Palm. To read their 2017 New Year's letter, click here: Palms 2017 New Year
"Skills and time are ours for pressing
toward the goals of Christ, your Son:
all at peace in health and freedom,
races joined, the church made one.
Now direct our daily labor,
lest we strive for self alone.
Born with talents, make us servants
fit to answer at your throne."
from "God, Whose Giving Knows No Ending",
by Robert L. Edwards