Continuing a 175-year tradition, the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) on Wednesday evening (July 4) commissioned 152 Presbyterian mission co-workers and young adult volunteers who have accepted assignments since the previous General Assembly.
The commissioning was held in the state where, in 1837, Presbyterians established their first national denominational mission agency. Presbyterian World Mission traces its heritage to that board formed in Philadelphia.
Nine mission co-workers were at the commissioning, representing the 30 new and reassigned mission co-workers who have been appointed since 2011. The nine mission co-workers present will attend orientation this month. They include:
Choon and Yen Hee Lim, who have accepted new assignments as regional liaisons for East Asia. They begin their new positions after many years of mission service in the Republic of Korea and Taiwan. They are from Chicago Presbytery.
Kari Nicewander and Joel DeJong, who will serve with the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian Zambia Synod. The couple will be accompanied by their two children, Francis and Yohannes. They are from within the bounds of the Lake Michigan Presbytery.
Dessa Palm, who will serve with the United Church of Christ in the Philippines. She is a native of the Philippines and will join her husband, Cobbie Palm, in mission service.
Doug and Liz Searles, who have been reassigned to Southeast Asia where they will be regional liaisons. Previously, they served under Presbyterian mission appointment in Poland. They are from Detroit Presbytery.
Timothy and Rachel Stone, who will serve with Zomba Theological College in Malawi. They are from Albany Presbytery. They go to Malawi with their two children, Aidan and Graeme.
Six young adult volunteers were present, representing 122 young adult volunteers who have been appointed since 2011. These six YAVs and others beginning service this year will attend orientation in August. YAVs who were at the commissioning included:
Christian Baucum (Salem Presbytery), who will serve in Chicago.
Piper Madison (Sheppards and Lapsley Presbytery), who will serve in Austin, Texas.
Gina Meester (Homestead Presbytery), who will serve in Kenya.
David Mills (Trinity Presbytery), who will serve in Northern Ireland.
Anna Owens (New Harmony Presbytery), who will serve in Northern Ireland.
Elizabeth Stites (Blackhawk Presbytery), who will serve in New Orleans.
In addition to commissioning new mission personnel, the Assembly also honored mission co-workers who in the past two years have retired or will soon retire with 20 or more years of service. Seven of the retirees were in attendance, including:
Hannah Kang, who served for 21 years in Malawi and the Russian Federation.
Joseph Kang, who served for 21 years in Malawi and the Russian Federation.
Arthur Kinsler, who served for 48 years in the Republic of Korea.
Sue Kinsler, who served for 39 years in the Republic of Korea.
Bryce Little, who served for 20 years in Thailand, Singapore, Spain and Portugal.
Phyllis Little, who served for 20 years in Thailand, Singapore, Spain and Portugal.
Alice Winters, who served for 34 years in Colombia.
At the close of the commissioning, a basket containing hundreds of prayers written by people around the world in support of the new mission personnel was shown to Assembly goers.