In September 2015, the General Secretary of the UPCSA, Rev Lungile Mpetsheni and Rev Dr George Marchinkowski UPCSA then Convener, Mission and Disciple Committee attended the CWM consultation in Hong Kong, for General Secretaries and Partners In Mission (PIM) coordinators from the member churches. During the PIM Coordinators’ break-away session when each member-church presented their work, the Presbyterian Church of India made a presentation on mission work which left an inspiring impression on George.
Upon return to South Africa, the UPCSA expressed its desire to conduct a study visit to the PCI. They were referred to the Mizoram Synod which has an outstanding record of sending missionaries through the CWM Partners In mission programme and other means. After much interaction, a UPCSA delegation visited the Mizoram Synod from 23 to 30 November 2016. The delegation included the General Secretary, Rev Lungile Mpetsheni, Rev Dr George Marchinkowski (former Mission and Discipleship Committee Convener), Rev Christopher Judelsohn (Mission and Discipleship Convener and Rev Boitumelo Gaborone (UPCSA Minister).
The take away from the visit, among others, are lessons on mission work, in terms of:
- Sending of missionaries
- Empowerment of the membership for disciple making
- Spirituality in the church
- Church administration
- Church and Society – human development programmes that include hospital, clinics, primary and secondary schools, colleges, skills training Centres and job creation. The PCI’s Mizoram Synod is therefore an employer of a big number of people and it also empowers many to be self-sufficient.
Two members of the UPCSA delegation reflected on their visit: Lungile said, ‘It was a way of CWM member-churches to mutually acknowledge the good in the other and to learn from the other’s best practice.’ Christopher reflected on the goal of the visit as, ‘Hope to build ecumenical relationships and celebrate the wonderful diversity of the Church.’