"...For All We Need is Faith Working Through Love" --Galatians 5:6
Through the work of the National/Global Mission Committee, the Meeting House seeks to reach out from our community to engage in Christian fellowship and service around the world.
Along with supporting the cooperative mission efforts of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Meeting House members regularly pack their bags and travel the globe to personally help those in need, in conjunction with a series of international Meeting House mission partners. The Meeting House has developed specific partnerships in Haiti, Kenya, Mexico, and Pakistan. Despite all the different places we go, the one constant seems to be that everyone feels that they were changed for the better by the experience, and received far more than they contributed.
PC(USA) Program Support
Basic mission support is the term used to describe the funds pledged by local Presbyterian congregations to undergird the mission budget of their PC(USA) Presbytery (65%), Synod (5%), and General Assembly (30%). It provides general funds for educators, administrators, doctors, nurses, youth workers, evangelists, and other Christians who start new congregations, provide resources, enable children to go to camp, support community ministries, increase interfaith dialogue, meet low-income housing needs, provide campus ministries, and offer refugee assistance, among many other programs.
PC(USA) and National Capital Presbytery missions programs to which the Meeting House directs additional support include:
- Medical Benevolence Foundation -- works with international church partners to support healing ministries in more than 100 clinics and hospitals around the world
- The Shack Neighborhood House, Pursglove, West Virginia -- provides spiritual, social, recreational, educational, economic, and health programming to all people of Scott's Run, WV and surrounding areas.
• Reflections on West Virginia, Charlie Ballou 2010
• Reflections on West Virginia, Beth Roberts 2010
- Union Presbyterian Seminary:The Meeting House has a long history of ties to Union Theological Seminary-Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond, Virginia. Present alumni are Senior Pastor, Robert Laha and Christian Educator, Priscilla Andre-Colton. Alumni among previous staff members are Charlotte Nance Albright, Edna Banes, Gary Charles, Tom Farmer and Mary Hill. Meeting House member Margaret Gardner serves on the Board of Trustees.
For information of admissions and programs go to upsem.edu.
Other seminaries related to the Presbyterian Church (USA) are located in Princeton, New York City, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Decatur, GA, Louisville, Chicago, Dubuque, Austin (Associate Pastor Ann Herlin's alma mater), Pasadena, San Francisco, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Complete information can be found at pcusa.org/seminaries.
- Young Adult Volunteer(YAV) with the PCUSA.
Juli Smith, YAV in Guatemala 2010-2011. Read more about her mission experience on her blog.
Community Coalition for Haiti (CCH) is a community effort spearheaded by several local congregations. The group's original and continuing focus is to improve health care in Pignon, a remote mountainous Haitian village. In addition to helping at the hospital or pharmacy and working on public health issues, CCH members have addressed agriculture, infrastructure, and educational matters in order to help strengthen the local health, economy, and Christian community. CCH is also active at local schools and orphanages. Following the 2010 earthquake, CCH has expanded it's mission to provide medical services in other regions as well.
The Meeting House provides financial support to CCH and building support for Pastor Sanvaal's church and school in Pignon. Dr. Guy, head of the Pignon medical center, has visited here several times, and several Meeting House members have participated in mission trips to Haiti. A Meeting House women's circle also sponsors tuition for several Haitian students.
Mission trip reflections:
Njoro Nursing and Counseling Center, Molo Girls Hostel, and United Orphanage and Academy
The Meeting House began work in Kenya through The Kenya Partnership, a National Capital Presbytery (NCP) “presbytery-to-presbytery” program with Elburgon Presbytery, located in the Great Rift Valley of Kenya's highland region. The partnership brought us together in shared projects, worship, and study, and has resulted in many exchange trips between the National Capital and Elburgon Presbyteries. Although the formal partnership no longer exists, the Meeting House and National Capital Presbytery still maintain a close relationship with our friends in Kenya. The Meeting House provides financial support for medical supplies and water projects at Njoro Nursing and Counseling Center and for facilities development at the Girls Hostel in Molo.
Along with Westminster Presbyterian Church (Alexandria), the Meeting House also supports the United Orphanage and Academy in Moi's Bridge in western Kenya which is home for more than 50 children, and includes a K – 6 school serving not only the resident orphans, but the local community. The orphanage and academy are intentionally inclusive of the many tribes in Kenya, thus seeking to foster peace and reconciliation in the community and the nation.
Mission trip reflections by Meeting House Members:
Minsterio De Fe and the people of Reynosa, Mexico
Ministerio de Fe (Faith Ministries) provides housing, medical care, education, and evangelism in the colonias of Reynosa and Miguel Aleman, Mexico (near the Texas border). Founded in 1994, Faith Ministries has organized volunteer workers from congregations and organizations across the U.S. to construct more than 700 houses serving 3600 local family members. The nonprofit organization has built two church complexes each comprising a sanctuary, pastor's home, offices, fellowship hall, dormitories, bathrooms with showers, kitchen facilities, courtyard and medical clinic. A third is underway, and there are plans for a total of five. A medical clinic that opened in August 2006 serves hundreds of people with its six exam rooms, a pharmacy, dorms for visiting medical teams to stay in, and its own water purification treatment facility. Faith Ministries has provided more than 300 elementary and secondary school scholarships to help with the cost of school fees and materials.
For many years, Meeting House work camp teams travelled to Reynosa each summer to build a 12'x24' concrete block home, working side-by-side with Mexican brothers and sisters as well as the recipient family. In some years, Meeting House members also hosted a children's art program or helped at the medical clinic. While we are not currently travelling to Mexico because of security concerns, we hope that we will be able to resume trips in the future.
In addition to workcamp trips, the Meeting House provides annual financial support for Ministerio de Fe and sponsors four tuition scholarships for Reynosa children.
Mission trip reflections by Meeting House Members
St. Thomas Church, Taxila Eye Hospital, and Forman Christian College
There are three primary Meeting House mission partners in Pakistan.
- The St. Thomas Church, the center of Islamabad's minority Protestant community, serves Christians in the poorest areas of that city through the Community Health Network and the Literacy Project. The Health Network provides primary health care for approximately 4,000 families at eight community centers in Pakistan’s capital. The Literacy Project educates young children and enables them to pass admission tests for government schools. It also teaches young women without previous education to read, write, and work with numbers.
- Taxila Christian Hospital, sponsored by the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan, is known for prevention of blindness and restoration of sight. It is the largest eye service hospital in the world. It also provides general surgery and quality low-cost health care, and has become the dominant hospital in the area. The city of Taxila, a World Heritage Site and said to be Pakistan's most important archeological site, dates to the fifth century B.C. and is located in Punjab Province about 20 miles from Islamabad. The hospital made international news in 2002 when three people attacked the hospital during morning worship, killing three nurses and seriously injuring many others. The hospital neveretheless continues its service and relies on contributions (including PC(USA) to help finance building, equipment and personnel training.
- Forman Christian College – Although not a formal Meeting House mission partner, Forman Christian College, located in Lahore, was founded by a Presbyterian mission worker in 1864, nationalized by the Pakistani government in 1972, and returned to Presbyterian Church USA in 2003. Since that time, PCUSA has dedicated funds to restore the college’s facilities and high academic standards to create an institution where Muslim and Christian students live, study, and learn together in respect, understanding, and love. The Meeting House annually contributes funds to support Forman.
- Dave and Ellen Smith 2010