The International Missions Committee coordinates the mission activities of Westminster around the world through direct partnerships, through the Presbyterian Church, USA, and in cooperation with mission organizations. Members of Westminster are invited to attend committee meetings! We meet the first Wednesday of the month at 7:00 p.m. at the church, unless otherwise advertised. Contact the committee, led by Paul van Son and Nancy Griswold, at [email protected].
United Orphanage & Academy in Moi’s Bridge, Kenya
Westminster’s support for the United Orphanage & Academy began at its founding in 2001. The reconciliation of children from various ethnic backgrounds was a founding principle of the Orphanage. We have built dormitories, toilet facilities, dining hall, kitchen, office and storage space, dug a well, provided for construction to enable connection to the electric grid, and purchased a 14-passenger van using budgeted funds and contributions from individual members of the congregation and others.
There are currently ~55 children and youth living at the orphanage, ranging in age from 4 to 18, and 6 that are away at college that we support. There are almost 150 students attending the Academy, which goes from primary school through 8th grade. In addition to supporting the children living at the orphanage, Westminster (along with other U.S. churches that support this effort) continues to provide financial support for approximately 40 scholarship students from the surrounding area. Westminster resources also provide support for those children who continue past secondary school to college or technical school. It is our goal to give the children of the orphanage every chance to succeed in making the transition from youth to adult.
In February 2016, a group from Westminster and Old Presbyterian Meeting House visited UOA. We spent time with the children, visited the secondary schools they attend in Moi’s Bridge, met with the teachers and staff of the Academy, and worshiped in a local Presbyterian church. We also were able to discuss current and future needs and goals for UOA with Reverend Stephen Chege, Director and Co-founder of UOA, and celebrate the UOA’s 10th anniversary. As part of the 10th anniversary celebration, we presented UOA with a plaque commemorating the first 10 years of this very special place and recognizing the contribution of Westminster member Henri Rush (1937-2014) to the founding and growth of UOA. Since our return, funds from Westminster along with a donation from the Rotary Club have been secured to install a new water system at the Orphanage which will provide running water to the kitchen and bathrooms when completed in 2017.
Westminter provides support for UOA with the Old Presbyterian Meeting House and Lewinsville Presbyterian Church through the United Orphanage & Academy Steering Committee. For more information about the UOA, email [email protected]
East Africa Missions
In 2011, Westminster entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Njoro/Elburgon Presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa. The MOU documented Westminster’s commitment to provide financial support for three church building projects that Westminster has supported historically and members of the church have visited in Kenya. In 2013, the International Missions Committee disbursed the final payments committed under the MOU, and received updates throughout the year from the Njoro/Elburgon Presbyteries Projects Coordinator chronicling progress on the construction.
In 2016, Westminster continued to provide scholarship funds to support a seminary student at Justo Mwale Theological College in Lusaka, Zambia. Our scholarship student, Mr. Andrew Chipeta, is a member of the Central Africa Presbyterian Synod of Zambia and will soon finish his degree. His first post-graduate posting is associated with Chasefu Theological College, another small seminary in Zambia which Westminster has supported for many years, including in 2016. This seminary operates on a shoestring budget and our funds go a long way to support their operating costs, primarily food for the students.
The International Mission Committee continued to provide financial support for Nancy Collins, the PCUSA Regional Liaison for East Central Africa. Nancy Collins provided updates throughout 2016 about Justo Mwale, Chasefu, and her work in Africa. The International Mission Committee hopes to arrange a visit to Westminster by Nancy Collins in 2017 when she is stateside.
Other International Missions
Bread for the World, a Christian advocacy group focused on ending hunger and poverty.
Faith Ministry, a faith-based organization working with impoverished communities in Reynosa, Mexico. Westminster has designated funds for their medical clinic and provides scholarships for two students.
Community Coalition for Haiti. Building on a relationship started after the catastrophic 2010 earthquake, Westminster sent funds to Community Coalition for Haiti to support the organization’s comprehensive development work in Haiti. In 2016, Westminster provided funds to support relief efforts following Hurricane Matthew.
Medical Benevolence Foundation. Westminster sent funds to MBF designated to support nursing schools and scholarships for medical professionals in Haiti.