“Pray in the Spirit on all occasions”
The World Mission Team (WMT) in Liberton Kirk supports our Mission Partners and seeks to raise congregational awareness of what God is doing around the world, seeking to offer people the opportunity of getting to know God through His Son, Jesus.
In “normal” years, this Update would make reference to any missionary visitors and WMT events we have had in the last year and those planned for this year. Of course, we are currently not in normal “occasions”, BUT, we still have sought to adapt to the changed circumstances and continue to promote awareness of World Mission where we can. Not surprisingly, a common theme in most of our Partners is a request for prayer that the respective countries/communities progress Covid vaccine programmes.
Our Current Mission Partners
Our ongoing partnerships have in the main been developed through personal contacts within our congregation over many years:
The Waldensian church in Italy: long standing connections to the small reformed Waldensian community through visits in both directions and regular updates. Like Liberton, they have had to revert to online services. One of their very practical ministries however is Mediterranean Hope, helping to settle incoming migrants arriving in Italy through the support of Humanitarian Corridors, provision of small-scale accommodation and
language training. We have a live link with Fiona Kendall, a Scottish lawyer working in the agency’s Rome office; in fact, she was due to visit us last year, but this could not take place. We would hope to re-arrange this when practicably possible.
Canning Garden Methodist church (CGMC) in Ipoh, Malaysia: again, built on visits and regular exchange of prayer requests and financial support of their social/health ministries, e.g. their Hope Dialysis Centre. Like Liberton, delivering services on Zoom but continuing their critical food distribution ministries. They request prayer for their pastor, Andrew Tan, that God would protect him physically and spiritually. We know that there are a lot of health workers in their congregation and we should remember them in light of coping with the pandemic.
St Stephen’s Society: through a personal link, with Maggie Gill who has visited the church a couple of times. The society works across Asia seeking to set people free from addiction, principally to drugs, by providing refuges. Two current projects give a feel for their work. In northern India they provide food, oil, soap + medicine to several families with absent husbands, many of whom are in drug addiction. Secondly, in Cebu, the Philippines, they have just purchased a home for children and babies being rescued from sexual abuse and exploitation, which is to be managed by a couple from Britain.
TEAR Fund/Traidcraft: we support this international agency through the annual sale of gifts + cards at Christmas. Normally, this would be after a Sunday morning service, but had to be done differently in 2020; two morning sessions in the Kirkgate Centre (under social distancing) and sales were actually better than in
previous years, so, something to think about for 2021.
African Inland Mission (AIM), in particular the work of Kathleen Burns from Edinburgh who has delivered medical work and missionary support in the area around Lake Victoria in Uganda. Kathleen was back home in 2020, due to return in October but Covid and compassionate reasons delayed that until January this year. We are pleased that Kathleen has found new accommodation as she develops her role as Short Term Co-ordinator, whilst still keeping her hand in part-time in health care. We are asked to pray for the political situation following a Presidential election which saw some violence.
Christian Aid: Liberton participates in the annual parish house-to-house collection. Again, this time it had to be “different” but using innovative promotion and drop-off of returned envelopes, over £2,000 was actually donated. There are lessons to be learned which will probably also be needed for 2021.
Church of Scotland HIV programme: this supports nearly 20 projects worldwide with funds raised through an annual Souper Sunday lunch in participating congregations. In 2020, we raised £800 in this way but, at present, it is not possible to plan anything similar for 2021.
Scottish Faiths in Action (SFAR): Liberton delivered a family day for Syrian families in 2019 and had hoped to do the same in 2020, but that had to be cancelled. The church did however get involved in the distribution of some Christmas hampers to Syrian families in December 2020.
Rutune (Kenya): through links with the Muturi family in Liberton, we have supported a rural community initiative with some pharmacy supplies, mosquito nets and, in the last year, regular food supplies distributed to some of the elderly ladies in the village.Further, through the Guild, the church also supports a CofS World Mission Council project in Zambia with up to 150 teenage mothers in mentoring, educating and empowering them as parents and bread-winners. Also, the church’s Kirkgate Café actively supports the café manager, Norma, in her practical mission input to local initiatives in Laos.
WMT hold a couple of events during the year aimed at socialising, fund raising and informing in a relaxed environment. These were another casualty of COVID-19, but again, we have tried to “think out of the box”.
Normally, our principal source of funds would be the concert held between Christmas and New Year. This year, instead of a live orchestra in the church, we provided a programme of silent films with Lawrence and a colleague from Philomusica providing the musical accompaniment – all a bit different! Folks logged on and watched in their own homes. Access was by donation and, we were really pleased that this “event” raised nearly the same amount as previously …Amen!
As well as the annual Mission Service, we seek to keep folks up to date through contributions in the church monthly magazine, weekly Prayer News, and church website.
At the start of 2021, after a stressful year, one of our Mission Partners shared this prayer from St Teresa of Avila (1515-82) which may be an appropriate point to end on.
Trust in God
Let nothing disturb you
Let nothing frighten you
All things pass
God never changes
All it strives for
He who has God
Finds he lacks nothing
God alone suffices