Green Faith Ambassadors

Green Faith Ambassadors

by Phyllis Byrd who serves with the Organization of Africa Instituted Churches (OAIC) in Kenya.

“The Harvest is Plentiful but the labors are few”? (Matthew 9:37-38)


Jehovah Rapha, during this period of Lent, as we reflect on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, help us to see the brokenness of the body of Christ. The broken church divides itself based on nationalist interest, the voices of the rich are heard while the so called poor voices are muted. Help us as Harvesters to collectively work together to repair and restore brokenness wherever it may be.

“Where are the men in the Church?” I have been asked this question many times over and I witness the answer to this question November 2023.  St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church of East Africa, the Presbyterian Men’s Fellowship (PCMF) celebrated their 50th Anniversary. This celebration was combined with the churches annual Harvest Thanksgiving Sunday.  It was a delight to see 58 men standing at the Communion Table. These men came to fulfill the three steps of the membership process for the PCMF: They first receive a card, after a period of time they receive a  badge, and in the final step they receive a jacket and a necktie.  St. Andrews PCMF chairperson  shared with me the following, “Men feel isolated in Kenya. A study showed most men pass the age of 30 do not have other male friends. They have colleagues and work buddies, golf partners, and maybe one or two friends. Many men in our culture view friendship as part of our distant past. This is why the PCMF is critical in the life of men, the church and society.”  This PCMF brings men together and into fellowship with each other.  One of the goals of the PCMF is to work to develop and release the gifts of men into Godly service of others in the community, the church, family, and the nation.

The passage found in the Gospel of Matthew regarding the Harvest is a  metaphor to describe the 72 people Jesus sent out on his behalf. They went out to sow seeds of reconciliation, and uproot injustice deeply inbreeded in the soil of society. Wherever they found spiritually stunted people they were to revitalize the family of God. Jesus was telling them/us to be his eyes, voice, hands to transform the world. Harvesters, do we see, can we hear the voices of small holder farmers in Africa?  They are shouting the harvest is not plentiful because of the loss and damages they experience due to ecological disharmony. The Organization of African Instituted Churches brought this to the attention of COP28 (28th session of the Conferences of Parties)  which was held in Dubai in December 2023 last year.

St. Andrew’s PCEA Elders recognized the critical need for the voice of the African church to be amplified in addressing the danger African nations face because of climatic changes. The disharmony is a threat to social and economic development and environmental sustainability. St. Andrew’s started and dedicated “Green Faith Ambassadors.” I am proud to be a committee member and appointed the Chaplain of the Green Faith Ambassadors.

Harvest work is plentiful, while the 58 men who stood at the Communion Table received a symbol of their membership to the PCMF there is another symbol they received. The PCMF, the OAIC working with smallholder farmers across Africa, and the Green Faith Ambassadors, all received a symbol of membership: “The ARMOR of God.” Harvesters fortification come from the ARM =  Adaptation Resilience, Mitigation.  We have to work to Adapt to crisis caused by climate change,  Resilience is essential for communities around the world facing crises due to ecological disharmony, Mitigation of policies and planning are key. The Churches in Africa ARM are not complete without OR. When Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba in Genesis 21:3 he called on the name of El Olam. ARMO = We acknowledge God’s everlasting love and presence is always with us as we work in the harvest.  The harvest is plentiful therefore we need the healing touch of the whole body of Christ,  to join Jehovah Rapha, = ARMOR as we work for the mending, repairing and restoring the earth back to the state that God intended it to be.

Phyllis Byrd serves with the Organization of Africa Instituted Churches (OAIC) in KenyaPhyllis’ appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and your special gifts.

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