Written by Diane Weible and W. Evan Golder July 4, 2011
General Synod 28 marked the mid-point of two years of
celebrating the 200th anniversary of America’s first foreign
Wider Church Ministries staff showed delegates a
special video, “200 Years of Mission;”
planted a crepe myrtle tree at First United Church of Tampa; and introduced
a new Pilgrim Press book by Mary Schaller Blaufuss on WCM’s most recent 25
In addition, a time line display in the exhibition
hall traced the history of mission from the famous “Haystack Meeting” in 1806.
Then, five students at Williams College, Mass., took shelter under a
haystack during a rainstorm. Joining in prayer, they pledged themselves to
volunteer in mission.
That led to the formation in 1810 of the American
Board of Commissioners for Foreign Mission, a historic predecessor to Wider
The video featured seven young adults involved in
mission today: Charu Vijayakumar and Betsy Sturbens, two missionary interns
working with the Young Adults Service Program; Max and Richard Brooke, twin
brothers who traveled around the country documenting volunteers working to help
others; Ellen Channel, a missionary in Durbin, South Africa; Aaron Wiggins, a
missionary in Fiji; and Patrick Bentrott, a missionary in Haiti.
“That vision of mission initiated 200 years ago by five
imaginative young people is carried proudly forward by young people in this
church today,” said Synod Moderator Jim Robertson. “Imagine what’s possible for
the next 200 years.”