(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Donna Campbell, a member of New Life Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Indianapolis, has a dream of providing shoes for displaced persons in Kenya.
Campbell visited Kenya recently on an independent trip and learned about the extreme need for basic shelter and clothing among persons who lost their homes, jobs, and land more than a decade ago following a political shakeup in their country.
Campbell recently attended a Global Ministries (GM) summit which focused on better orienting Disciples from racial/ethnic congregations about the global outreach and support that Global Ministries offers. After attending the Summit, Campbell, who is African-American, thinks her project can improve its chances for success by utilizing GM’s resources.
“Global Ministries can help us with the outreach we want to do in other countries,” said Campbell. “Although I had been on another trip abroad with Global Ministries to China, our recent time together highlighted the need to work through that ministry to help ensure that what we want to get done in other countries happens.”
Campbell is now thinking that instead of shipping shoes directly to the Kenya, she will send money to the Global Ministries missionary in Kenya to purchase footware on Campbell’s behalf.
The three-day Summit was held June 16-18 in Indianapolis. It brought together 32 people selected by leaders by the church’s three racial/ethnic ministries for meetings designed to highlight Global Ministries work and ways to better engage racial/ethnic congregations. The meeting was a follow-up to a pilgrimage to India in 2010 that allowed the Church’s three racial/ethnic leaders: Timothy James of the National Convocation, Huberto Pimentel of the Central Pastoral Office of Hispanic Ministries, and Geunhee Yu of NAPAD (North American, Pacific/Asian Disciples) to spend time together learning about the Church’s global outreach.
At the summit, attendees heard about the work, resources, and partnerships that comprise Global Ministries work. Participants gained information about Global Ministries’ history and the ways in which it serves as the common witness of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, nurturing relationships with international partners on behalf of both Disciples and the UCC. On the opening day, Rev. David Vargas, co-executive of Global Ministries and President of the Division of Overseas Ministries, gave a plenary address on the GM’s focus around “critical presence,” or meeting God’s people and creation at their point of greatest need.
Over the course of the summit, Global Ministries’ five area executives also shared background and stories about their work with missionaries and partners in areas that include East Asia and the Pacific, Africa, the Middle East and Europe, Southern Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Participants were told that GM works with more than 270 partner churches and organizations in about 70 countries, helping to build schools, construct clean water projects, address the HIV/AIDs pandemic, improve the plight of women and children, and undergird the efforts of clergy and evangelists, among other things.
Rev. Julia Brown Karimu, incoming president of Global Ministries, addressed participants on the second day of the summit, reminding them the Church must engage in mission and service appropriate to its context.
“Global Ministries relates to its overseas partners out of a spirit of cooperation and mutuality,” said Karimu. “We try to always remember that we have the responsibility of both giving and receiving.” Karimu added that the church’s mission and work must be consistent with the call of the Prophet Micah: And what does the LORD require of us? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
Participants at the summit had several opportunities to worship and praise as well share in small group sessions. In addition, a number of workshops were held that covered such topics as People-to-People Pilgrimages, Global Advocacy, Special Giving, and Serving as a Person in Mission. At the close of the summit, each participant gathered in his or her respective ethnic group to brainstorm ways to better engage in God’s global mission with Global Ministries. Everyone attending was then commissioned as Ministries and Mission Interpreters, individuals who are passionate about mission and trained to convey the stories of mission and educate people in local churches about the work of mission around the world.
“It was a surprise for me to hear about the small participation of minorities with Global Ministries,” noted Hector Hernandez after the summit. This summer Hernandez is working as a GM intern while enrolled in seminary at Christian Theological Seminary. “To some degree, it doesn’t make sense (that more minority congregations) aren’t involved in global mission, because as people from the margins we see mission with a different perspective.”
Now that the summit has concluded, Hernandez is considering ways that he, as a Hispanic male, artist and seminary student can make a difference in reaching out to those around the world.
All of the participants were asked by GM to continue to reflect on ways they might implement their Global Mission action plans in the future.
To read more and see photos from the Summit, visit Global Ministries website at: http://globalministries.org/news/us/disciples-racial-ethnic.html
To also read reflections from Obra Hispana on the Summit, go to: http://globalministries.org/news/us/reflection-from-the-obra.html
By Wanda Bryant Wills, [email protected]