NEW YORK – One of metropolitan New York's largest Presbyterian churches has pledged $1 million to aid the Mission Initiative: Joining Hearts & Hands (MIJHH) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which will support mission efforts in the "Global South."
Part of Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church's gift will establish the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church Global Ministry Fellowship, a program that will immerse recent seminary graduates into overseas countries that are in need. The donation was announced at the April 11-12 meeting of the MIJHH steering committee.
"This remarkable, visionary, and enduring gift will enable our ministry partners in the Global South to expand upon their present ability to train and equip leadership in a church which is exploding with vitality and growth," responded the Revs. Joanna Adams and Dave Peterson, co-chairs of MIJHH, in a joint statement. "We are profoundly grateful for Madison Avenue's deep commitment not only to international mission, but to the formation of pastors and students. This gift has the potential to change the paradigm for mission in the Presbyterian Church (USA)."
The new fellowship will allow recent graduates to gain first-hand experience in ministry work and educate them on issues in a globalized context.
The gift was part of Madison Avenue's tithe program, in which they have a $20 million capital campaign to completely renovate their main facility. The $1 million will also add into the MIJHH's five-year campaign to raise $40 million, which they plan to use for overseas mission work.
"This is a new concept of ministry with churches in the Global South, designed to foster reciprocity," said the Rev. Dr. Fred R. Anderson of Madison Avenue in the PC-USA News. "Beyond that, the Global Ministry Fellowship will be the standing legacy of this congregation's commitment to international mission, just as the Church House (our main facility) is our legacy for local ministry."
Those seminary graduates that are selected for the program would have an internship for two years. It would begin on June 1 with three months spent in pastoral residency with Madison Avenue. Graduates would then begin an overseas, twelve-month program in early September. This would be followed by three months of travel time, and a six month residency again at Madison Avenue to help them assimilate back into American work.
Students who are selected will be ones who have strong capability for becoming a leading pastor.
The first program will be associated with a ministry outreach in Zambia and the first intern will be chosen among Princeton Theological Seminary students to make the process feasible in its debut run.
"I've been impressed from the start with what Joining Hearts & Hands has accomplished, both in how much has been raised and in how it unites us as a denomination," expressed the Rev. Dr. Thomas Gillespie, president emeritus of Princeton Seminary, in the PC-USA News. "I look forward to seeing the wonderful result as the Madison Avenue Church, Joining Hearts & Hands, and Princeton Seminary cooperate together in furthering Christ's mission in the world."
Many of the Global Ministry Fellowship programs will have a focus on African nations, but will reach out to other cultures as well.