A local chef's idea prompted the whole-hog success of Monday's (July 2) dinner sponsored by the Medical Benevolence Foundation (MBF) and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s International Health and Development Program (IHD) here at the 220th GA.

“The goal of this was to help build community,” said Pam Ator, MBF development staff person who organized the event.

The pig roast fed nearly 170 General Assembly participants, mission co-workers and volunteers at First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh. The new MBF executive director, Andrew Mayo, said this event was formerly a breakfast and the move this year was to host a larger gathering, encourage dialogue and provide a good meal.

Bob Ellis, coordinator for IHD, hoped visitors would learn about one other and, in particular, learn about the Presbyterian mission co-workers serving across the continents.

“This is an example of the church at work and coming together,” Ellis said of the event and the three partners who made it happen, which included First Presbyterian Church.

The Rev. Tom Hall, pastor of the 300-member church, said he's very happy that the congregation has provided so much hospitality for the Assembly. He said that General Assembly is part of the church's history: four former pastors have been GA moderators.

At his table, Frank Dimmock lifted up the needs of children in countries throughout Africa. Dimmock who has served as a mission co-worker with his wife Nancy since 1985, is now the PC(USA)'s Africa Health Liaison based in Lesotho.

“We're trying to work with our African partner churches to serve vulnerable children,” he said, adding that there has been some progress with women's advocacy, but that children are absolutely voiceless.

Children are seen as gifts from God in African cultures, but it is very easy for orphaned children, who have no birth certificates, to be lost in the streets and become victims of human trafficking, according to Dimmock.