Presbyterian Outlook, free registration
by Leslie Scanlon, Outlook national reporter
"ATLANTA – They’re good-hearted Presbyterians – serious about their faith, people who want to show God’s love to a suffering world. But it’s not as easy as just getting on a plane with a suitcase and a pocket stuffed with dollars.There seems to have been a lot of frank talk at the recent meeting of the Presbyterian Global Fellowship. While this new organization is shaping up to be a strong advocate for mission in the world, it is not necessarily of the opinion that all is well with how we have historically carried out mission. I can't say I am 100% in agreement with everything I have read about the proceedings (especially Roberta Hestenes' comments on mission trips), I cannot fault the introspection that is going on here. It is healthy, and is directed toward moving forward. And Hestenes' comments are worth considering in that they urge us not to forget long-term missionaries in our zeal to organize short-term mission trips.
In a religiously diverse world, in which Americans often enjoy prosperity and peace which others do not share, working in partnership with others can be a complicated thing. And those at the Presbyterian Global Fellowship http://126.96.36.199/ meeting August 17-19 – a mostly white, evangelical crowd – were challenged to temper their energy for mission with some hard thinking about realities that are not always comfortable to face.
Lucas de Paiva Pina, a Brazilian who is working with immigrant fellowships in Georgia, looked out across the room and said: “We need to put more color here – yellow, black, red, all of them.”
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has pledged to become 20 percent people of color by 2010, but still is more than 92 percent white.
Americans who want to work with the global church need “to change the attitude of we-and-they,” Pina said. “We need to understand that in Christ, we are brothers and sisters. We are a family with different languages, different colors, different cultures, but we are from the same family, saved by the same Savior.”
The Presbyterian Global Fellowship, according to its FAQ, is not trying to drive a wedge between Presbyterians, nor is it trying to erect a new government within the PC(USA) -- rather it is attempting to move forward -- away -- from the sexuality issues that are preventing us from being the Church.
With all the talk of schism being fed by internal and external influences, this represents a breath of fresh air for those who love our denomination and want to see its mission go forward.
The following web sites have good coverage:
Presbyterian Global Fellowship
Presbyweb (a 30 day trial period is available)
The Presbyterian Outlook (free registration required to read the full articles)
Russell Smith -- The Eagle and Child
Larry Wood -- A PCUSA Pastor's Blog
Ed Brenigar -- The Presbyterian Polis
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