Bethel is involved in ministries around the world through our support for Global Ministries, a joint effort of the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). While Global Ministries’ roots are in the past, our approach to mission work reflects a new understanding of mission.
Our mission is to receive and share the Good News of Jesus Christ by joining with global and local partners to work for justice, reconciliation and peace. We send mission personnel only where we are invited, and we follow the agenda of our partners, not our own. Our work is ecumenical and interfaith. Our core values are
Community - Building interdependence and unity among all of God’s children
Mutuality - Walking in hope with others in God’s mission
Justice - Living out God's radical love by confronting powers that deny the fullness of life and the integrity of creation
Peace - Embodying reconciling relationships with God, humanity, and creation
Presence - Manifesting God's love by living in intentional, committed relationships
You can learn much more about Global Ministries at www.globalministries.org.
Bethel supported the work of Global Missions missionaries Rev. Erik and Kim Free in Mozambique from 2014 to 2017. Erik and Kim lived in Oregon prior to their call to the mission field. They were called to work with the United Church of Christ of Mozambique (UCCM) on a number of projects, including revitalizing churches, teaching modern agricultural techniques to increase crop yields, teaching literacy, and establishing small businesses for women. The UCCM and Global Ministries decided in the fall of 2016 that it was no longer safe for Erik and Kim to remain in the country because of an increase in violence between rival political factions. They have returned to the United States, and Erik has accepted a call to serve as pastor of the Keizer Christian Church in Keizer, Oregon. Kim is finishing her degree in anthropology and will be exploring several career options.
Bethel may continue to support the UCCM or may choose to support other Global Missions missionaries.
Bethel is one of 45 local UCC churches that make up the Central Pacific Conference (CPC). In 2014, the Central Pacific Conference Annual Assembly voted to begin a global partner relationship with the YWCA of Palestine. This action created a three-way covenant of mutual support between Global Ministries, the Central Pacific Conference, and the YWCA of Palestine. At the time, Rev. Loren McGrail, Global Missions missionary in Palestine was working directly with the YWCA of Palestine on the Fabric of Our Lives project and other advocacy work on behalf of Palestinians. Loren has now completed her term of service and returned to the United States, but the CPC-YWCA covenant endures. CPC-PIN and the Wider Church Ministries Ministry Team of the CPC have the primary responsibility for nurturing the covenant. CPC-PIN members have travelled to East Jerusalem and Dr. Mira Rizeq, General Secretary of the YWCA of Palestine has visited us in Oregon. Mira hopes to come to Oregon again in 2017. Bethel stays in touch with this partnership through its members on CPC-PIN and CPC Wider Church Ministries Team.
Click HERE for more information about the YWCA of Palestine.
Bethel has been active in supporting the work of the national United Church of Christ Palestine-Israel Network (UCC-PIN). Two Bethel members serve on the regional group, Central Pacific Conference PIN (CPC-PIN). In 2014, Bethel studied the Kairos Palestine Document, a statement issued in 2009 by the many Christian denominations in the Holy Land asking for support from U.S. churches to end the military occupation of Palestine. This document is modeled after Kairos South Africa, the document that asked U.S. churches to help end apartheid in South Africa. Like the South African document, Kairos Palestine calls upon U.S. churches to support Palestine through economic leverage, referred to as BDS, standing for boycott, divestment, and sanctions. Bethel’s Mission and Outreach Committee and the Bethel Board responded to Kairos Palestine by supporting a resolution to the 2015 General Synod, the biennial national legislative body of the United Church of Christ, calling for support for BDS throughout our denomination. This resolution passed at General Synod 30 in June, 2015.
The current focus for General Synod 31 is a resolution calling for an end to the incarceration and torture of Palestinian children. Bethel has not yet taken a stand on this resolution. The resolution has been endorsed by 14 UCC local churches and will be debated on the floor at General Synod 31 in Baltimore in June, 2017.
Contact us if you'd like more information about Global Missions!