The world mission committee of the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church exists to support and interpret the world mission of the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America (PCUSA) for the Swarthmore congregation. To that end it:
1. Seeks to educate the congregation about Christian mission around the world;
2. Initiates and encourages direct financial support for selected mission co-workers through the annual budget and extra commitment opportunities made possible through the General Assembly office of the church;
3. Maintains continuing contact with selected mission co-workers in the field and arranges educational opportunities for them to report to the congregation during home assignment; and
4. Seeks opportunities for members of the congregation to visit mission co-workers and, as temporary volunteers on a particular assignment, serve with them overseas.
WMC functions as an arm of the Outreach Committee and reports to Session through that committee.
If you are interested in joining the World Mission Committee, or for more information, contact George McCarthy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mission Co-workers Supported by Swarthmore Presbyterian Church
The Presbyterian Church (USA) website has great in-depth, organized information about Presbyterian mission co-workers around the globe. Visit The Presbyterian Church (USA) Worldwide page to learn more and to sign up for their monthly newsletters. Links to specific pages on the PC(USA) website where Swarthmore Presbyterian Church supports mission co-workers are highlighted below.
Douglas Orbaker, Nicaragua
Appointed in January 2004 to serve in Nicaragua with CEPAD, The Council of Protestant Churches of Nicaragua, as delegations coordinator, Doug develops programs carried out by the many “mission teams” that go to Nicaragua to work with and learn from Nicaraguans. Doug holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Grove City College, a master of divinity from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and a doctor of divinity from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. Prior to entering the mission field, Doug served for five years as synod associate in the Synod of the Covenant, and before that held pastorates in Pennsylvania and Ohio. He was ordained in 1968. He serves in Nicaragua with his wife Penn Garvin, where he focuses primarily not on "getting things accomplished" but on bridging cultures.
For more information on Doug Orbaker and to read his many letters visit:
Prebyterian Church (USA) Mission Connections: Doug Orbaker
Nicaragua Mission Trips
For several years adult SPC members - often members of SPC's High School Youth Group - and others from the community have traveled to Nicaragua to meet and work with some of the people we support. In May 2010 a group of college students, shepherded by SPC member Tom Stephenson and our Partners in Ministry colleague, Joyce Tompkins, continued this tradition. For details, visit our Nicaragua Mission Trip page.
H. Douglas Dicks, Israel, Jordan, Palestine
A mission coworker in the Middle East since 1995, Doug Dicks lived in Jerusalem and Bethlehem for 12 years, moved to Amman, Jordan, in May 2007. He serves as regional liaison for the PC(USA) in Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Territories, including the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. Born in Baltimore, Doug earned an associate degree in education from Lord Fairfax Community College in Middletown, Va., before graduating from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., with a B.S. in anthropology and archaeology. He has done post graduate study at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Prior to his assignment as a mission coworker, he was an airline pricing analyst at Washington’s Dulles International Airport. Doug communicates frequently through an email list providing a regional perspective on today’s events in the middle east.
For more information on Doug Dicks and to read his letters visit:
Presbyterian Church (USA) Mission Connections: Doug Dicks
His most recent letter can be viewed or downloaded as a PDF (Adobe Reader required): June 2010 Letter from Doug Dicks
Dr. Sue Makin, Malawi (recently retired)
A mission coworker since 1987, Dr. Makin served for over 11 years as an obstetrician/gynecologist at the Mulanje Mission Hospital in Mulanje, Malawi (www.mmh.mw). In the fall of 2009, however, Dr. Makin announced her intention to retire after many years in this rewarding ministry. Her last letter from Malawi, which includes a picture as well as a colorful description of the auction she held to sell of her belongings, can be downloaded using Adobe Acrobat, Dr. Sue Makin Oct 09.pdf. And in a letter dated January 2010 we learned of her new plans: "I have some exciting news to share with all of you. Yesterday, I received an invitation to join the faculty of a brand new college of nursing at Hannam University in Daejeon, South Korea. As many of you know, I traveled to Daejon in early December of last year to accept the Linton Award for humanitarian service in Africa. It was a grand trip and a great experience. While there, I learned of the new school. Simon Park, a fellow PCUSA missionary, suggested I might be interested in more teaching opportunities in medicine. It was a brand new school. They wanted a teacher who could speak English fluently. They want to train Korean nurses for the mission field. I felt at home in the Christian atmosphere of the university community. So the University has invited me and I have accepted. I will be leaving the United States, God willing, before the end of March, 2010."
We wish Dr. Makin the best in all that lies before her. And we are pleased to introduce John and Gwenda Fletcher, recently selected by the World Mission Task Force to take Dr. Makin's place as mission co-workers in Africa supported by SPC:
Introducing our newest mission co-workers:
John and Gwenda Fletcher, Congo
In January 2009, John and Gwenda Fletcher were appointed to serve with the Presbyterian Community of Congo (CPC) in the Kasai region of Democratic Republic of the Congo. This is by no means their first acquaintance with the Congo. The Fletchers were first appointed mission personnel by the PC(USA) in 1989, and they served in the Congo until January of 2001. Both John and Gwenda grew up as children of Presbyterian mission workers in India.
John works with the Christian Medical Institute of the Kasai (IMCK), helping the staff build and maintain a unified network of all the CPC’s mission hospitals. Although John’s primary surgical responsibilities are at the Good Shepherd Hospital, his broader charge is to work with the CPC medical director in support of the CPC medical program. He teaches medical residents, medical students, and nursing students at the IMCK and other mission hospitals.
Gwenda fills a position that World Mission has long been recruiting for: education consultant. She works with the CPC, helping the church with teacher training, administration, and community involvement. The CPC came out of the efforts of the “American Presbyterian Congo Mission,” which existed from 1891 to 1970, and has been a fully autonomous church since 1961. The CPC serves a large part of the population in West and East Kasai through its ministries of evangelism, health, education, and development.
Gwenda holds a B.S. in education from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, and an M.S. in special education from Portland State University. John holds a B.S. in cell and molecular biology and an M.D. from the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. Both John and Gwenda are ordained to the office of elder and are active members of the First Presbyterian Church, Yuma, Arizona. Until leaving for mission service in 2009, Gwenda served as clerk of session.
The Fletchers are the parents of two adult children, John and Rachel, and the grandparents of six: John, Emily, Robbie, Savannah, Summer, and Samuel.
For more information on the Fletchers and to read their letters visit:
Presbyterian Church (USA) Mission Connections: John and Gwenda Fletcher
Carlton "Cobbie" and Dessa Quesada Palm, Philippines
Serving in the Philippines since 1989, Cobbie is currently Director of Spiritual Formation at the Divinity School at Silliman University. Silliman University is the country’s first Protestant school, founded in 1901 by the Presbyterian Church (USA). He has recently also been named Director of the new International Center for Mission Studies in Asia, a cooperative project shared by United Evangelical Mission, United Church of Christ in the Philippines, and Silliman University.
SPC has in recent years provided scholarship funds so that a deserving but financially unable student may study at Silliman. You may read here about this year's scholarship recipient, Sarah Jean Cuyag.
The son of Presbyterian missionaries, Jim and Louise Palm, Cobbie lived in the Philippines for the first 16 years of his life. Cobbie graduated from Eckerd College in Florida, taught English in the Kinjo Girls College in Japan for two years, has an associate degree from the Graduate School of Ecumenical Studies in Bossey, Switzerland, and a Master of Divinity degree from Union Seminary in New York City. He and Dessa were married in 2006.
Dessa has been in Dumaguete for the past six years organizing young people and women in theater and music to advocate for social issues affecting them. She received a Fullbright Scholarship and has a Masters in International Studies from New York University. You may read a little about her work at Casa Esperenza and see some pictures in a letter she sent in grateful response to the funds received through our 2008 Alternative Christmas Shop: Letter from Dessa.
A current project near and dear to both Cobbie and Dessa is Silliman Water, a ministry that is working to provide clean drinking water in the communities they serve. Our Hunger Task Force now supports this effort with funding. A detailed summary of need and explanation of the project can be found at Silliman Water Project. (requires Adobe Reader - free download)
For more information on Cobbie and Dessa and to read their letters visit:
Presbyterian Church (USA) Mission Connections: Cobbie Palm