This Saturday we will gather as a congregation committed to a deep and wide experience of mission in our community and around the world. This will be the third year that BMPC has held an annual Mission Summit, and each year the event has looked a little different. This year is no exception.
This year we will be focusing on what it means to do mission in PARTNERSHIP.
We use this word partnership all of the time when we talk about mission here at church, but we don’t often take the time to reflect on what it actually means to be partners in mission. We refer to all of our grant recipients from the Outreach and Worldwide Ministries Councils and Hunger Committee as our mission partners, but we don’t always live up to the possibilities and opportunities that come with real partnerships.
We will spend a good part of our morning reflecting on our experiences of mission and mission partnership at BMPC talking about how we can be better partners and how we can help the entire congregation feel like they are authentic partners in mission, whether down the street or on the other side of the world.
But another important part of our conversations on Saturday will also focus on how we partner with one another within our congregation.
This past fall as the Staff Design Team helped the Session rethink how we are organized for ministry and programs at BMPC, a new Mission Council was constituted – or rather a vision for a new Mission Council was affirmed. The Mission Council will help to nurture and guide the work of our separate mission committees as well as help to connect all of our program areas with the work of mission. Our five mission committees have been in conversation over the past several months about what a Mission Council will look like and how it can best help all of us to partner with each other in the work of mission.
This Saturday, we will continue this conversation as we brainstorm how a Mission Council will help us to both work together in mission as a church and help the entire congregation be fully engaged in our work of mission.
Our Keynote speakers for Saturday, Jed and Jenny Koball were invited intentionally because of the ways that our partnership with them as Mission Co-Workers in Peru represents the potential for the future of mission partnership at BMPC.
Jed and Jenny work in partnership with the organization Joining Hands – Peru, which is a ministry of the Presbyterian Hunger Program. This is how Joining Hands describes their work:
“The mission of JH-PERU is to improve the quality of life of the most economically disadvantaged and vulnerable sectors of society. We do this by identifying root causes of poverty and injustice and addressing them through advocacy campaigns and the promotion of human and environmental rights at the local, regional, national and international levels, all the while weaving among ourselves a shared spirituality that sustains us and guides us.”
In their time with us, Jed and Jenny will talk about how they live into this work as partners with the local community and community leaders. But they will also talk about how partnering with BMPC has been able to support them in their call as Mission Co-Workers.
Our relationship with Jed and Jenny also compel us as a congregation to think about how we can partner with one another to do mission together.
- Jed and Jenny have been partners with the Worldwide Ministries Council for several years now, as BMPC has significantly contributed to the financial cost of their sending and support through Presbyterian World Mission.
- Jed and Jenny have been partners with our Environmental Justice Committee through the Advent Gift Market, as they raised funds to help with the programming expenses related to community organizing through Joining Hands Peru specifically as it relates to their environmental advocacy in the face of the damaging effects of the mining industry.
- Jed and Jenny are partnering this summer with our High School Youth to host their 2016 Summer Mission Trip as our youth will travel to Peru to work with our partners there and learn more about what it means to be called to a life of service.
- Our Children’s Sunday School classes have chosen to designate their offerings this spring to the work that our Youth will be doing in Peru this summer and pray each week for our partners there.
It is my hope that being inspired by this model of partnership that Jed and Jenny bring to us, our new Mission Council will encourage us to find more and more ways to partner in mission with one another across the broad vision of mission that we hold here at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church.