Phyllis Byrd

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 our partner’s mission 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 and improve the lives of more than 60 million AIC members across the continent.

I work 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 alongside Africa Independent churches as they work towards addressing good governance, poverty eradication, Just environment, and creating communities where the people of God would live with dignity.

I also work with the Presbyterian Church of East Africa as the Young Adult Volunteer program coordinator, 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 leads 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, the decisions we make, and 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 handout 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, and 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 seven letters. I liken poverty to crabgrass that spreads and manifests itself in many different challenges that face people in the area where I work, such as :

  • Food Security
  • Drought
  • Environmental destruction
  • Education
  • Sustainable development
What lesson have you learned from our partner that you feel should be shared with churches in the U.S.?

The 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 resources with others who have faced challenges.

Which books have influenced your understanding of your country, work, or theology?

Phyllis’s appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and your special gifts. Make a gift that supports the work of Phyllis Byrd

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