Westminster Presbyterian Church has been blessed by its involvement with African Christians, both in a local way and in overseas partnership.
Locally, we have been blessed by the participation of many immigrant families from Africa - largely West Africa. They have brought new perspectives to our work, introductions to our mission partners in Africa, and new awareness of the struggles faced by immigrants and refugees, along with ways to help.
For almost two decades, Westminster Presbyterian Church has shared in several mission projects in West Africa developed through the contacts our immigrant members brought to the church. Our efforts started in Ghana and widened to include Liberia and Sierra Leone. Projects have focused on helping partners on the ground enrich the lives of children through providing educational opportunities; care for Ebola orphans; support for water, food and health projects; and capacity building projects that help partners in West Africa generate more income. We continue to seek novel ways to keep girls in school. Directly through mission trips and in ongoing communication from our partners, we know that our efforts are yielding positive results.
Our current partners include the M.O.M. orphanage in Freetown, Sierra Leone; the Hope Mission School in Bernard Farm, Liberia; and three partners in Ghana: the Christian NGO Home of Care and Protection (HOCAP), the Tema Redemption congregation, and the Greenwich Meridian congregation, which is the seat of the Tema Community One District.
Below is a partial listing of ways your donations, along with grants we have obtained from other sources specifically make a difference through our African Ministries.
Generous 2019 donations have helped our two partner churches in Tema start projects that will continue this year. On church grounds, Greenwich Meridian Church started a children’s Library to serve the community and the school they operate. Redemption has adopted the Redemption Valley school (adjacent to Church property) and plans to give the school a computer lab.
Westminster donors continue to provide food and other supplies for 200 Ebola orphans at the M.O.M. orphanage in Freetown, Sierra Leone. When church member Fatmata Hilton went to deliver food to the orphans at the M.O.M. orphanage on her last visit to Freetown, computers and Bibles were requested. Fatmata helped us obtain 15 refurnished computers and a significant number of donated Bibles. The Church also purchased menstrual hygiene kits and paid to ship all items to the orphanage.
Westminster donors provide 41 tuition scholarships for low income children as well as total support for 11 Ebola orphans living at the Hope Mission School. This year, donations are supporting building of additional bunk beds for school residents as well as flooring. This is important because children have been sleeping on dirty mattresses.
Your contributions this past year have enabled the establishment of a part-time nurse position at the Hope Mission School for students and staff. This spring Ms. Korlu Jallah, RN will add malaria screening and treatment to her current health services at the school. Funding this year will provide for a private consultation area as well as continue menstrual management classes and ship more supplies.
Tema partners participated in an Albany area MoonBee on their last visit to Albany. Representatives from HOCAP and Tema Redemption Church subsequently conducted menstrual hygiene needs assessments in two off-the-grid rural communities: Nyitawuta and Okushibri. They requested and received $2,200 from Westminster for menstrual hygiene training projects in both communities. With their own funds they repeated the training in the school adopted by Tema Redemption and subsequently raised almost $2,500 to launch a vocational training program for teenage girls who will otherwise grow up with no education. In 2020, the vocational training program will continue and the partners will run a Phase 2 menstrual hygiene training program.
In 2016, HOCAP initiated a relationship with Nyitawuta - an isolated rural village in the Volta region of Ghana. Farms in this community provide food for residents and the most important source of outside income. One of the major goals for the HOCAP partnership with Nyitawuta has been to help the farmers increase quality and quantity of crop yield. In 2019 and 2020, Westminster has helped by sending a $2,000 grant to permit the start of a demonstration farm and also by sending $1,000 to help start the construction of large dam to irrigate 200 farms in the community.
We cannot do this important work without the continuing support of so many of you who understand the many needs and donate to fund these efforts. In this new decade, help us not just continue but also expand the impact our community partnerships make. Together we can continue to transform the lives of individual children and communities in West Africa.
Please make donations payable to::
Westminster Church, 85 Chestnut St, Albany, NY 12210 and note in the Memo Line “African Mission” You may also give online at www.wpcalbany.org/give
Lois Wilson has been a Westminster volunteer since she retired from State Government in 1997 and decided to focus on projects and activities affecting individuals. Since 2005, she has helped to organize holiday parties for homeless families at Schuyler Inn, with volunteers from Westminster and the Zonta Club of Albany. She has been an active co-chair of Westminster's African Ministries Committee since 2001, helping with Church mission trips to Ghana and Liberia and liaison with groups representing West African immigrants. In Spring 2018 she moved to the Avila Retirement Community where she now volunteers and has helped to organize MoonBees for the MoonCatcher Project.