Phyllis Byrd serves with the Organization of Africa Instituted Churches (OAIC) in Kenya.
Watch Phyllis’ presentation on her time with the OAIC in Kenya and throughout the continent of Africa. (This can be downloaded for use in virtual Sunday School and worship.)
Presentation with questions at the end
How would you describe the mission of our partner in Kenya?
The Organization of Africa Instituted Churches (OAIC) brings together African Independent and Instituted Churches to develop indigenous forms of worship, theology and social organization in order to improve the lives of more than 60 million AIC members across the continent.
I am working in the OAIC as the Director of “Just Communities.” The word Just means “Being honorable or fair in our dealings.” The Just communities program seeks to walk along side Africa Independent churches as they to work towards addressing good governance, poverty eradication, Just environment, and creating communities that the people of God would live with dignity.
I also work with the Presbyterian Church of East Africa as the coordinator of the Young Adult Volunteer program, helping to place young adults from the USA to serve in Kenya for a year.
What led you to engage in this calling?
My passion for Justice lead me to look at the root cause of global injustice. We are made in the image and likeness of God, it is therefore my theological conviction that justice is not something that we “do for others” but it calls into question all that we do, the way we live, decisions we make how we live out our spirituality. Archbishop Romero speaks of the “poor” needing to be the protagonist for justice and liberation and we are all called to participate not in giving a hand out but in working for justice.
Is there a passage of scripture that carries special meaning in your daily work?
There are so many passages that have meaning to me it is difficult to pick out one in particular. I love Isaiah 10:1-3 as well as many others that guide my life.
What are some of the challenges facing the people of Kenya?
Poverty is a big word that only contains 7 letters. I liken poverty to crabgrass that spread and manifest itself in many different challenges that face people in the area that I work such as :
- Food Security
- Environmental destruction
- Sustainable development
What is a lesson you have learned from our partner that you feel should be shared with churches in the U.S.?
Their love, concern and knowledge they have of what is taking place in the world. This is seen as they discuss global issues in prayer meetings and other church gatherings. Our partner church has even shared their resources with others that have faced challenges.
Which books have influenced your understanding of your country, work, or theology?
- Globalization, Spirituality and Justice, by Daniel G. Groody
- Jesus and the Disinherited, by Thurman Howard
- Generous Justice: How God’s Grace makes us Just, by Timothy Keller
- The Spirituality of African Peoples, by Peter Paris
Her appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and your special gifts.
More from Phyllis Byrd
- Pray with Kenya, June 5, 2022
- Pray with Kenya, December 12, 2021
- Gender and Leadership: An Expectation, Not an Exception
- Pray with Kenya, June 13, 2021
- It’s in the Bag
- Pray with Kenya Sunday, October 18, 2020
- Sounding the alarm in 2020
- Mayo 2020: Sanando una comunidad
- May 2020: Healing a Community
- Pray with Kenya Sunday, March 15, 2020