City Presbyterian, Bulawayo
City Reformed PCA here in Pittsburgh has had a long-standing congregational relationship with another "city church", City Presbyterian of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. This relationship began through a seminary connection between CRPC Senior Pastor Matt Koerber and a Teaching Elder at City Pres.Bulawayo, Craig Jones. CRPC supports both the ministry of Craig and Mell Jones in Zimbabwe, as well as the ministry of their church body, City Pres.Bulawayo (as can be seen on this website).
Ministry in Zimbabwe sounds incredibly hard when an American hears of it. Picture the regular mess and needs of people in an urban context played out in the midst of a collapsed economy with rampant unemployment and inflation, daily power outages and the like. And yet, the Lord is there and working through His people at City Presbyterian Bulawayo! This church is one of five (5) in the Presbytery of Bulawayo that is active in church planting, leadership development and women's ministry. Support from CRPC for the last 15 years or so has been dedicated toward leadership development, with the result of dozens of lay pastors being trained in the true gospel in a country where false teaching (in the form of a "health and wealth prosperity gospel" that targets the poor) is endemic. Our brothers and sisters in Bulawayo ask for prayer in 4 particular areas:
1) The Presbytery is planting a church in a suburb of the city with a mercy ministry focus on an irrigation project to enable subsistence farming to aid food instability, housing some chronically homeless folk and a Saturday morning kid's club, a very different type of church plant!
2) Pray for the ongoing Church Based Discipleship (CBD) program of training lay pastors spearheaded by Elder Jorum Mugari. Men in this program can move into theological training including biblical languages and biblical counseling or preaching via a series of partnerships with outside organizations. This is the area where City Reformed's financial support has been targeted.
3) Women's Ministry - pray for the training of women spearheaded by Evah Mugari in a complementarian framework (in line with CRPC's position) leading to healthy churches properly utilizing women's gifts.
4) Pray for regional connections with other Reformed churches in southeast African nations committed to biblical and reformed teaching and polity in advancing Christ's kingdom in Africa.
Finally, pray for Senior pastor John Stambolie of City Presbyterian as he leads a small Session (3 other elders plus himself) that is actively involved in ministry in an incredibly needy context!