My friends Mamie and Richard are mission co-workers serving in Colombia as pastoral accompaniers. Richard just posted a sermon he preached at his home church in Texas last spring, and I think it gives a helpful look at how Presbyterian involvement in God’s mission has been changing, and how accompaniment as mission and ministry fits in the picture. Accompaniment is a concept that has been significant throughout my involvement in ministry and mission, and in a way it is a good description of my current work, too—I am here to accompany our partner churches and Joining Hands networks and mission workers in Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela, and their processes of partnership with Presbyterians in the U.S.
To borrow from Richard’s sermon, by doing mission in partnership we work with our partner churches “to find ways to be strong, faithful, and prophetic peoples, speaking God’s truth and wisdom into each of our societies. We work with programs that link our churches together through delegation visits and sharing of resources. We work with pastors in their development and education. And we work with our churches in the US, to understand the story of our sisters and brothers – who are very far and lead very different lives – but are linked to us by our common humanity and our shared faith.”