The Overseas Committee is one of the Kirk Session Committees which deal with specific areas in our Church. There are 10 elders on the Committee and as well as organising the offerings at Harvest and the Christmas Eve Services, we have overall responsibility for quite a wide range of organisations, including the Scottish Bible Society and Christian Aid.
Over recent years we have been actively involved in the Kimo Peru project, Mission Aviation Fellowship, Tearfund, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, India Missionaries Fellowship, the Church of Scotland HIV Aids programme when we held a Souper Sunday to raise funds, and we receive regular reports from the World Mission Council of the Church of Scotland. We also receive regular communications from our missionary partners, the Ferguson family in Japan.
This year, through the Overseas Mission Fund, we have been able to contribute financially to the work of Mission Aviation Fellowship, Christian Solidarity Worldwide and also to Prison Fellowship for their work in Pakistan. Special collections are also organised in the aftermath of major disasters.
As will see from the above, we are an active and lively Committee with quite a wide remit, organising lunches/coffee mornings when required and generally overseeing the commitment to our friends overseas.
Below are some further details about a few of the projects and people we support.
David and Lorna Ferguson are members of St Paul’s who went as a family to Japan in 1998 with OMF (formerly China Inland Mission and Overseas Missionary Fellowship). OMF serves the church and bring the gospel to many of the countries in East Asia, and has a pioneering ministry in the rest. They help place Christians with professional skills in China and other Asian countries, and share the love of Christ with East Asians worldwide.
After two years’ language study the Fergusons moved to Otaru, a city of some 145,000 people on Hokkaido island, where they worked for eight years before handing over leadership to a Japanese pastor. After a year of home assignment in Milngavie, they returned to Japan in March 2009 when they began a new church in the Hiragishi area of Sapporo, the largest city in Hokkaido.
You can keep up to date with their activities on their blog, and “Japan Jottings” are a regular feature in Life magazine.
Please pray that the whole family will find ways of sharing the love of Christ with people in Japan.
The Vine Trust is an international, interdenominational, volunteering charity which seeks to enable volunteers to make a real and significant difference to some of the poorest children and communities in the world.
After hearing about the work of the Vine Trust St Paul’s decided to launch an appeal to the congregation for money to build a home to be run by Scripture Union Peru. SU already had several other homes and this one would be in Junin Province near a beautiful man-made loch and the Chanchamayo River in the Andes Mountains to the south-east of Lima.
A massive fundraising programme was begun in June 2009 and many activities from a gift day, to Christmas tree fair, to sponsored walks to concerts and a personal giving scheme. After much prayer and hard work the target of £60,000 was reached several months early.
The home now houses about 40 boys from the countryside surrounding Chanchamayo. A work party from St Paul’s went over in 2009 to see the site for themselves and contribute physically to the building of the house - their story can be read in the back issue of Life magazine for October 2009.
Keep up to date with developments through the Vine Trust’s news pages.
IMF is a small Christian charity which began while some of the present trustees were studying theology at Aberdeen University in the early 1980s. They became friends with an Indian couple, Siga and Nalini Arles, who shared their burden for the millions of Indian children who never get a chance to develop their God-given talents, and are condemned to a life of hardship and poverty. Two of the original trustees had worked in developing countries, and they were concerned to encourage meaningful links between Scottish christians and third world churches.
IMF began in 1984, and is a registered charity in Scotland. Its aim is to "sustain, propagate and develop interest in and financial support for children who live in extreme poverty in India by providing the means for their welfare, education and nurture in the Christian faith."
Find out more on the IMF website
Tearfund is a Christian international aid and development agency working globally to end poverty and injustice, and to restore dignity and hope in some of the world’s poorest communities.
They operate in more than fifty countries around the world. As well as being present in disaster situations and recovery through our response teams, they speak out on behalf of poor people on the national and international stage by petitioning governments, campaigning for justice and raising the profile of key poverty issues wherever they can.
Tearfund has a vision to see 50 million people released from material and spiritual poverty through a worldwide network of 100,000 local churches.
Find out more on the Tearfund website
Christian Aid is a Christian organisation that insists the world can and must be swiftly changed to one where everyone can live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance where need is great,striving to achieve equality, dignity and freedom for all, regardless of faith or nationality. It is part of a wider movement for social justice. tackling the effects of poverty as well as its root causes.
Accountability is core to Christian Aid's values and the principles that inform their behaviour in all that they do and help define their approach to policy, campaigns, fundraising and communication.
These values include being authentic - being trusted to do the right thing, being rooted in the lives of real people, telling the true story, communicating real voices and having an open and honest relationship with the church.
Find out more on the Christian Aid website
CSW is a Christian organisation working for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, in the pursuit of justice.
Their primary work is advocacy, which they use to influence the legislation, policies, attitudes and behaviours which reinforce religious discrimination and persecution. Through this, they aim to bring about lasting cultural, social and political change.
CSW's evidence-based reports are widely used and cited by the Foreign Office, US State Department, US Commission on International Religious Freedom, UN and others on a regular basis.
Find out more on the CSW website
MAF is a dynamic Christian organisation operating more than 135 aircraft across over 35 countries in the developing world. Flying across hostile environments, we reach the world’s most isolated people.
They partner with over 1,000 organisations to bring physical and spiritual care to those who need it most, providing flights and logistical support for their outreach to communities in developing nations.
These missions include aid agencies, missions, relief and development organisations, government departments, local churches and other national groups. Their work covers healthcare, emergency relief, development and the bringing of God's word.
They seek to promote the growth of the church, working with indigenous churches and groups to enable spiritual outreach. They also support the work of many visiting churches as they encourage fledgling churches or those who have suffered persecution.
Find out more on the MAF website .