The partnership between Pittsburgh Presbytery and the Synod of Blantyre has, since 1991, been an opportunity for hundreds of people and dozens of congregations on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean to grow in their faith and learn to serve God patiently, obediently, and passionately.
During the past twenty years, nearly 500 Pittsburghers have traveled to Malawi, and we have hosted an equal number of Malawians. The visits have involved relationship building, education events, pastoral exchange, evangelism rallies, medical mission work, and building construction. Thirt-five churches of Pittsburgh Presbytery are twinned with partner churches in Blantyre Synod. The partnership has caused deep personal friendships to grow both overseas and within Pittsburgh Presbytery.
In 2013, this partnership was expanded to include South Sudan and to become a tripartite partnership where each member can share fruit with each of its two neighbors.
Click here to download a brochure with more information about the International Partnership of Pittsburgh Presbytery!
From Our Founders
Following is a quote from a presentation titled, "New Dawn for Partnership in Mission: An African Perspective" by the Rev. Silas S. Ncozana, Ph.D., (pictured below) to the Pittsburgh Cleric at Shadyside Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, PA on December 8, 2003:
“The purpose of the partnership between Pittsburgh Presbytery and the Synod of Blantyre CCAP, Malawi, is to move us toward the fulfillment of Christ’s prayer for unity among his disciples; that all are invited into His Kingdom; that the world may accept the gospel and have faith; that God’s love may abound; that the church may grow and be mutually encouraged in faith. (John 17:9 – 24, Isaiah 56:1 –8, Ephesians 4:2- 6, Romans 1:12, 2 John 1:12). Members of God’s church cannot be content to be independent or isolated from other Christians. There is no part of the church of Jesus Christ that can be whole and complete without the gifts available to it from the whole church. Only in partnership with each other can the various parts of the church effectively respond to the spiritual, social and physical needs of the people of God. As a result of the partnership friendships have been fostered which enable partners to cross cultural, economic, educational, social, racial and theological boundaries. Trans-congregational relationships have developed in Pittsburgh and Malawi between people who would never have even known each other were it not for this Partnership.”
(Pictured left to right: The Rev. Dr. William M. Paul, Mrs. Margaret Ncozana, Mrs. Nancy Paul & The Rev. Dr. Silas S. Ncozana)
From a presentation at a general meeting of the Malawi Partnership of Pittsburgh Presbytery by the Rev. Dr. William M. Paul (pictured above) on May 2, 2011:
WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?
My answer: In Partnership, Amazing Grace Abounds. From the beginning until now, the grace of God has come to us through this wonderful, but imperfect, Partnership. It abounds in at least four ways.
First, Grace Abounds in Obedience .
When Jesus walked along the sea and called Peter/Andrew/James/John to follow him, they had no idea about what it was going to mean. So with the Partnership. 21 years ago (1990), when a small group contacted the Synod of Blantyre, we didn’t really know what would come of it. It began with an obedient step.
Second, Amazing Grace Abounds When We Connect With Christ’s Universal Church.
St. Paul reminds us that: “There is one body, and one Spirit…one Lord, one faith one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, through all, and in all.” Partnership is a living reminder that the church is universal and transcends national, economic, geographic, political, cultural, and racial boundaries. .
Third, in Partnership Amazing Grace Abounds in God’s Gifts.
As individuals, we need the gifts that come from sisters and brothers in the faith. In the math of Partnership, one plus one equals more than two.
Fourth, in Partnership Amazing Grace Abounds and Saves us from the Tyranny of Perfectionism.
Partnership is a window into the human realities of the visible church, in Pittsburgh and Malawi.
Partnership is grace filled partly because it helps us to see our sin, confess it, and move beyond it. St. Paul wrote that “we have gospel truth in earthen vessels to show that the power comes from God and not from us.” If the church was perfect, we would end up worshiping it rather than the Lord of the Church.