Global Ministries celebrates 25 years of mission
A 25th anniversary was celebrated during General Synod July 16, with a video recounting how the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) have re-envisioned global mission for the post-colonial era.
The Rev. Julia Brown Karimu, president of the Disciples’ Division of Overseas Missions and co-executive of Global Ministries, said, “Both denominations believe fully in the unity of the church.” She recalled how overseas partners have long been working as united churches, and challenged the two denominations to do the same.
UCC Associate General Minister Karen Georgia Thompson, who serves Wider Church Ministries and Operations and as co-executive for Global Ministries, said, “Colonialism and patriarchy are not the way we want to do our work together.” Now, she said, the denominations are supporting the initiatives of overseas partners rather than imposing their programs on them, as was often the case in the past.
The video included messages from Tom Morse, a mission worker in China, and Jon Barnes, a former mission worker in South Africa. “There are definitely needs that can be met, but we don’t go in with an attitude of seeing the problems from the outside,” Barnes said. “… We don’t come in as experts to tell others what their issues are, but to walk with people and to find out what are their dreams and what are their desires for their communities for their families and for the churches … and try to walk with them. …”
The varied work of Global Ministries was highlighted in the presentation with photographs and videos from around the world. A history of the two denominations’ “journey toward a Common Global Ministries Board” is here.
“Global Ministries has seen 25 years,” Thompson concluded, “and I hope we’ll see 50 more.”
Sara Fitzgerald, a General Synod Newsroom volunteer, is a member of Rock Spring Congregational UCC, in Arlington, Va.
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