Discussing Mission with Three Bishops

John Plocher and I spent this afternoon at a workshop at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in San Jose, California with our own Bishop Mary plus the two Bishops of our Companion Diocese who are visiting this week:

The workshop covered several topics. There were presentations about new programs to benefit the people of Bishop Gerard’s diocese, including distributing solar ovens and setting up scholarships in this very poor area. John and I were in the “mission” discussion group with Bishops Michael and Gerard plus Reverend Canon Daniel Nyugwa (on Bishop Gerard’s staff), Reverend Canon Brian Nordwick (El Camino Real’s Diocesan Administrator), and Rev. Amy Denny-Zuniga (Priest-in-charge of St. Luke’s, Hollister, and recently a missionary serving in El Salvador).

Particularly moving for me was a discussion about models for mission. Amy spoke about three models she had become aware of during her prayerful consideration:

    • It’s About Them

      This is the traditional colonial model of mission. It assumes that the missionaries have something needed by those receiving the mission. There is an undertone
      of “converting the lost”. Doing good work and spreading Christian gospel is the goal.
    • It’s About Me

      This is a more recent model focused on transformation of those going on mission who
      have life changing experiences from living the reality of extreme poverty. The model is based on pilgrimage: the missionary as pilgrim. The missionary seeks her own transformation humbly. “No one is too poor to give or too rich to receive.”
    • It’s About Us

      This is the engagement model, focused on relationship and accompanying others in their struggle, being a companion. The goal is transformation in relationship. This model is integral to the companion diocese program.

Bishop Michael spoke about mission work at home and abroad. He sees mission as evangelism: providing spiritual leadership and talking about faith openly. His Diocese of Gloucester has several other companion diocese relationships, including two in India. Bishop Michael spoke about partner churches needing to say what they need (not just responding to what missionaries want to give). He sees prayer and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as the way to help people in many countries. Countries that have more to give will lose their sense of patronage as they realize they are helping themselves by helping others. The MDGs need to be achieved for the mutual benefit of the whole world. Bishop Michael and others spoke of going into another culture and receiving moving, humbling hospitality from the poor. He said the experience did more for him than for them even though they were unbelievably grateful for his visit.

Margaret Mpango (Bishop Gerard’s wife) offered attendees a way to benefit the poor women of Tanzania very directly. She sold beautiful handmade embroidered clothes, baskets, plus lengths of batik and printed cloth at the back of the meeting room. Margaret Mpango is looking for a way to sell more of these excellent products – pictures are below. I can put you in touch with her if you are interested in either buying or distributing these.

Three Bishops

Trinity Cathedral, San Jose California, Mary Gray-Reeves, Gerard Mpango, Michael Perham
photo: copyright 2009 Katy Dickinson
Solar Oven

Cookit Solar Oven going to Tanzania
photo: copyright 2009 Katy Dickinson
Three Bishops

Trinity Cathedral, San Jose California, Mary Gray-Reeves, Gerard Mpango, Michael Perham
photo: copyright 2009 Katy Dickinson
Margaret Mpango, Bishop Mary

Trinity Cathedral, San Jose California, Mary Gray-Reeves, Margaret Mpango
photo: copyright 2009 Katy Dickinson
Rev. Brian Nordwick

Trinity Cathedral, San Jose California, Reverend Canon Brian Nordwick
photo: copyright 2009 Katy Dickinson
Revs. Amy and Daniel

Rev. Amy Denny-Zuniga, Rev. Canon Daniel Nyugwa, Trinity Cathedral, San Jose California
photo: copyright 2009 Katy Dickinson
Rev. Amy Denny-Zuniga

Rev. Amy Denny-Zuniga, Trinity Cathedral, San Jose California
photo: copyright 2009 Katy Dickinson
Margaret Mpango,

Epiphania Nkala

Trinity Cathedral, San Jose California, Margaret Mpango, Epiphania Nkala
photo: copyright 2009 Katy Dickinson
Textiles For Sale

from Tanzania

Textiles from Tanzania For Sale
photo: copyright 2009 Katy Dickinson
Textiles For Sale

from Tanzania

Textiles from Tanzania For Sale
photo: copyright 2009 Katy Dickinson
Textiles For Sale

from Tanzania

Textiles from Tanzania For Sale
photo: copyright 2009 Katy Dickinson

Images Copyright 2009 by Katy Dickinson and John Plocher

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