by the Rev. Norma Malfatti
These are the words of Tammy Jackson, the Director for International Leadership Development in the Global Mission Unit and our ELCA representative this weekend for Synod Assembly. She truly believes that it isn’t Chicago or Syracuse or any particular office around the globe that does ministry. Instead it is right here, among God’s faithful people who do the hard work of walking with their neighbors.
Jackson oversees international scholarships, global sabbaticals and international Horizon internship sites for rostered leaders. The scholarships are the heart of her work; they provide men and women around the globe the opportunity to receive theological education. For instance, Nyoloho Noko, a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe, is a scholarship recipient and currently working toward a theology degree at a university in South Africa. In fact, of the 60 current scholarship recipients, approximately 50% are studying alongside their brothers and sisters in their country of origin or neighboring country. The other 50% study at one of the eight ELCA seminaries in the United States.
These scholarships are critical to growth of the church and a significant way in which we, as the ELCA, accompany our global companions in their mission and journey. These scholarships empower our global brothers and sisters in their ministry and help to build the capacity of the global church. Each scholarship recipient is expected to return home after they have completed their studies, to be leaders in their community, to lift up new leaders and to equip and empower the people in their communities to be a part of God’s work in the world.
How can the Upstate New York Synod partner with Jackson and support her work? Her answer: to continue our accompaniment and partnership. Whether it is our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe and Zambia or the other churches in our conference, it is by walking together and entering into partnerships that we can best do ministry and be faithful witnesses of God’s love. Jackson firmly believes that “we are an amazing church that serves an amazing God and that together we can and will move forward… in faithful ways.” She sees the impact we have on people’s lives around the globe, and because we are the church together, we are able to make a difference in the lives of people on the other side of the world.