Mission & Outreach
In 2011, First Presbyterian Church supported through its operating budget and by contributions to special offerings a total of $169,127 to help meet local and worldwide needs. Click here for a detailed listing of the disbursements.
One of the best ways to get involved at First Presbyterian Church is volunteering some time with local mission activites. Some of the local organizations and projects receiving financial support and volunteerism by church members are described here, along with contact names. You don't need to be a member to participate. All are welcome.
Missionary supported by First Presbyterian Church
The Reverend Leonel Pech - Presbyterian Latino Alliance Northeast (PLAN)
Presbyterian World Missions
The following is a report delivered to our congregation January 15, 2012, by Josué Njock Libii, chair of the FPC Mission Appriopriations Committee.
I am here to summarize the report that we received from General Assembly about Presbyterian World Missions in 2011. I will present three things: the status of Presbyterian World Missions, the global issues on which they are focused, and five short examples of mission work around the world.
What is the current status of Presbyterian World Missions?
The PC (USA) started world missions in 1837. It is celebrating the 175th anniversary of world missions this year.
In 2011, the PC (USA) had about 200 world mission workers; they were located in 50 countries.
The PC (USA) world missions are focused on three global issues. They are:
1) Addressing the Root Causes of Poverty, particularly, as they impact women and children;
2) Sharing the Good News of God’s Love in Jesus Christ; and
3) Working for Reconciliation in cultures plagued by violence, including the culture in the USA.
Five short examples
1) Over the past 175 years, 94 million people came to have faith in Jesus Christ through the world missions of the PC (USA). That is an average of 537,000 people per year over that time.
2) Our own Rev. Mary Ferris worked with orphans in Romania. [Editor's note: Mary is a former Director of Christian Education at Fort Wayne First Presbyterian Church]
3) Al and Ellen Smith live in Russia, where they work with “ the Roma People” to bridge the deep distrust and divide between them and the Russians. “The Roma people” is the new name for what used to be called “the Gypsies”. “The Roma People” move from place to place, because they have no homeland of their own.
4) Dr. Martha Sommers is one of two physicians working in Ekwendeni Hospital in Malawi. That hospital serves 200,000 people and provides a safe place for giving birth.
5) Rev. Phyllis Byrd is a Site Coordinator of Young Adult Volunteers in Kenya. When Kenya instituted new public health rules that required children to wear shoes when they go to school, she realized that a typical family in rural Kenya would never be able to afford shoes. Rev. Byrd arranged funding for a shoe-purchase-and-distribution system. That system was funded with the help of a pastor in the United States; it was implemented locally with the help of Kenyan volunteers; and it helped families keep their children in school.
These are just a few examples of the difference that is made by your prayers, your money, and the workers you sent to the mission field. And for that, the Mission Appropriations Committee thanks you.
Finally, you may wonder why I chose these examples from among the hundreds that were available to me. The answer is this: I see myself in some of these people. To be sure, I have never been “a Roma” person, nor have I been an orphan. However, my mother reported that I and my seven siblings were born in a hospital such as the one in Malawi. Also, I remember walking barefoot to school. Then, there were no rules about going to school with bare feet. I remember being very grateful that there was an elementary school only 4.5 miles away from our house, because I could walk that far. I absolutely loved school; and that school had been built by the PC (USA).
So, I know from personal experience that a hopeful future for people in need often hangs on the balance of care; very often, care provided by a complete stranger. Thus, to care, or not care, is not a mere academic question. It makes a difference between having an education or remaining illiterate in Kenya. It makes a difference between dying during childbirth or living to raise one’s children in Malawi. It makes a difference whether or not there is a place where the gospel of Jesus Christ can be preached to give hope, and faith, and value to people whose lives society has deemed worthless. God’s Word, written and preached, will reveal to them that God disagrees with society’s assessment of their lives, because Christ came, and lived, and died for them, too. And he did -- so that they, too, might have life and have it abundantly. I thank you on their behalf.
Josué Njock Libii
Chair, Mission Appropriations Committee of Session.
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
In September 2011, First Presbyterian Church sent $1,000 to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance for hunger relief in Somalia, where a starvation crisis exists due to severe drought and a complicated political situation. Relief is directed through the ACT Alliance: Action by Churches Together. Funds raised through the One Great Hour of Sharing offering also assist the life-saving in Somalia and in Kenya, where many Somalis are refugees.