We live in a diverse world with unparalleled opportunities for the individual and yet despite the scientific progress that has been made in so many fields, it is still a world troubled with wars, disease, poverty and natural tragedies. It is also a fact that many peoples have still never been offered the opportunity of getting to know God through the joys and challenges of following Jesus. As a missional church it is, therefore, important that we use our available resources to play our part in helping to introduce and disciple people wherever possible. Hence the role of the Mission Team within Liberton Kirk. It exists to explore local initiatives to help the world community on our doorstep within Edinburgh and to work with partners across the world in giving Christian service to people in need. Such partnerships include contacts made through members of our congregation over the years and also in association with certain international charities which seek to support in major global relief needs and in broadcasting the message of Jesus to Governments.
In line with encouragement from the central Church of Scotland, Liberton Kirk now has a twinned congregation. It is Canning Garden Methodist Church in Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia. This active church is situated in a city of over 600,000 people in the heart of Peninsular Malaysia. It is surrounded by beautiful limestone hills and caves and, having recovered from its former tin mining history, modern Ipoh now is famed for good education, light industry and an increasingly successful tourist industry. It is the food capital of the country and the Christian community, though small in a predominantly Islamic country, is nevertheless active and has played an important role in providing services to the needy within the city and surrounding districts.
As the twinned congregation of CGMC, we exchange monthly prayer concerns, share experience of our outreach and education programmes and send donations, where appropriate, to support their mission and social concerns ministries. Following their very successful Jubilee anniversary, we are now working together on future exchange programmes for adults and youth leaders. Twinning is essentially different from previous missionary relationships in that they are associations based on equality and learning from each other in an effort to share the joys and challenges of delivering the Gospel in different settings.
Our second main partner is the Waldensian Church in Italy. We have had a long history of association with this small reformed church including exchange visits. Many pastors from that church have also studied theology in Edinburgh. They also regularly attend the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and a further Waldensian evening will be held in the Spring 2019. Within Liberton today, we work closely with the Waldensian Society in Edinburgh and currently support the Waldensian Church’s Mediterannean Hope project of providing day centres and education programmes for migrant workers from Africa and the Middle East.
Our third link is with Africa and in particular with Uganda and Kenya. In Uganda, we support the work of the African Inland Mission and their work with the communities on the islands of Lake Victoria. This focuses particularly on preventive education for HIV/Aids and support for sufferers of that disease. Because we also have a family in our congregation from Kenya, one of whom is a member of our World Mission Team, we also seek to give support to a local village community there through practical help such as the provision of mosquito nets.
We will also be arranging a special evening on Friday 7th September, 2018 to hear first-hand from invited speakers on China. Please see special publicity leaflet nearer the date.
Because of our belief that as a church we should also be seen to support one or two major charities who have the power and capability of responding more effectively to major global relief programmes and natural disasters, we select one or two associations each year for which we seek to provide funds. In particular, we assist Tearfund through an annual sale of Christmas cards and gifts. We also assist in coordinating the Christian Aid Week house to house collection arrangements in the parish and finally we support the Church of Scotland HIV programme both locally and internationally by our annual Souper Sunday.
We are currently exploring possibilities of more local action through the Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees, which was established in 2015 and which is administered by the Church of Scotland. We hope to organise a major weekend event for Syrian refugees in early 2019 and are seeking to welcome overseas students to some of our events through the student organisations of our local universities.
Please pray for our partnerships and associations and by attending our concert events and special evenings we aim to give you a clearer understanding of our activities. If you would like to partake in our monthly prayer exchanges with our twinning partner in Malaysia, please ask to be added to our email listing. If you even wish to consider becoming a member of the Team and feel that you have special skills to bring to our work we would also love to hear from you. Whatever, we can be contacted by sending an email for the attention of the World Mission Team via the Church Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is also a letterbox outside the Church Office in the main entrance vestibule to the Kirk centre. We also have a World Mission leaflet stand at the east side of the Church sanctuary.