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PW Gathering hosts commissioning service for mission personnel

July 16, 2009

Mission co-workers and Young Adult Volunteers were commissioned July 13 at the Churchwide Gathering of Presbyterian Women.

Mission co-workers and Young Adult Volunteers were commissioned July 13 at the Churchwide Gathering of Presbyterian Women. —Danny Bolin

LOUISVILLE

Twenty mission co-workers soon to serve in places from Nicaragua to Taiwan were introduced to the Churchwide Gathering of Presbyterian Women July 13 during a service of commissioning.

The 20 co-workers, who stood on stage with 10 children who will accompany their parents overseas, participated in the commissioning while in Louisville for orientation. Most will depart the United States for their assignments in August. Also introduced were two Young Adult Volunteers who will attend orientation next month. The Young Adult Volunteers are among 59 YAVs who will soon begin a year of ministry at sites across the United States and around the world.

Those young adults who were unable to attend, as well as 13 mission workers and long-term volunteers who began service earlier this year, were also recognized. The commissioning service, which was for all mission personnel who began or will begin service in 2009, included one of the larger classes of mission workers in recent memory.

The large class is due to the General Assembly Mission Council’s commitment to increase the number of mission co-workers and a higher than usual number of co-workers retiring or leaving service for other reasons.

The mission co-workers present for the commissioning were:

Carl Agsten and Leslie Clay will serve with the Council of Evangelical Churches of Nicaragua (CEPAD) as facilitators of partnerships and communications.  They are members of First Presbyterian Church in Charleston, WV, (Presbytery of West Virginia), where Leslie served as director of youth ministry. They will be accompanied by two children, Kai and Ella.

The Rev. Rachel Anderson will serve as the U.S. coordinator of the Pueblos Hermanos border ministry in Tijuana, Mexico. A graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary, Rachel is a member of Foothills Presbytery in South Carolina.

The Rev. Debbie Blane, who has just completed a term of service in China with the Amity Foundation, will teach at Nile Theological College in Khartoum, Sudan. The college is an ecumenical theological institution serving the Presbyterian Church of Sudan and the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church. Debbie will teach a range of theological subjects geared toward college-level students for pastoral ministry. She is a member of the Presbytery of the Cascades.

The Rev. Mamie Broadhurst and the Rev. Richard Williams have been assigned as pastoral accompaniers in Colombia. The will assist in the support and protection of those engaged in the social ministry of the Presbyterian Church of Colombia who are working with persons displaced from their homes and land and in defense of human rights in the North Coast of Colombia. Both are members of the Presbytery of Chicago.

Nancy Collins will serve as World Mission’s regional liaison for East and Central Africa with a focus on Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia. She previously served for 11 years in Cairo, Egypt, in social justice ministries. Her home church is Providence Presbyterian Church in Providence, RI, (Presbytery of Southern New England), where she was an elder.

The Rev. Mary Catherine (Kay) Day will serve in Malawi with the Central Church Africa, Presbyterian (CCAP) in the southern region. She will coordinate training for pastors, and serve as the administrator of Chigodi Women’s Center. Kay is a member of the Presbytery of Pittsburgh.

The Rev. Joshua David Heikkila will serve as World Mission’s regional liaison for West Africa, based in Accra, Ghana. Josh, a member of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area, has been serving as associate pastor at House of Hope Presbyterian Church in St. Paul, MN. He was born in New York, raised in New Jersey, and feels at home in Chicago. Josh previously served as a Young Adult Volunteer in Ghana.

David and Leigh Knauert will serve in São Paulo, Brazil, where David will teach biblical studies at the Universidade Metodista de São Paula. They are members of First Presbyterian Church in Durham, NC. (New Hope Presbytery) and will be accompanied by four children, Peter, Harrison, Lily and David.

The Rev. Larry and Barbara Moir will serve as English teachers at Bethel Evangelical Secondary School in Dembi Dollo, Ethiopia. Larry is a member of the Presbytery of Donegal; Barbara is a certified preschool-through-ninth-grade teacher and an elder at Cedar Grove Presbyterian Church in East Earl, PA (Presbytery of Donegal).

Dr. Leslie and Dr. Cynthia Morgan will return to mission service in Bangladesh, where they have served since 1989. They have recently been on a leave of absence in the United States to care for their son Everett, who died from bone cancer in December 2008. Les and Cindy are both physicians and will serve as advisors for the health ministries of the Church of Bangladesh and as World Mission's regional health facilitators. They are members of First Presbyterian Church in Shreveport, LA (Presbytery of the Pines).

The Rev. Brice Rogers will continue service in Egypt, with a new assignment in the Ulya Presbytery, where he will work with a local pastor in a ministry with tourists and conduct in-service training for English teachers. Brice, who had been serving as a volunteer at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo, is a member of the Presbytery of St. Augustine. He will be accompanied by his wife, Sungmin Cho.

The Rev. Jonathan and Emily Seitz will serve with the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan. Jon will be on the faculty of Taiwan Theological College Seminary in Taipei. He is a member of the Presbytery of Brunswick; Emily is an elder at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Trenton, NJ (Presbytery of Brunswick). They will be accompanied by a toddler, Samuel.

The Rev. Mark and Ashley Wright will serve in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. They will help in the organizational and theological development of the Honduran Presbyterian Church as well as help to strengthen and build partnerships with North American churches and presbyteries. Mark is a member of the Presbytery of Cincinnati; Ashley is a candidate for ordained ministry under the care of the Presbytery of the Mid-South. They will be accompanied by three sons, Ethan, Eliott and Gabriel.

The two Young Adult Volunteers present for the commissioning were Rachel Hosmer, who will serve in community ministries in Denver, and Leslie Lang, who will serve community ministries in Nashville.

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