Marco Presbyterian Church will hold their Twenty-seventh Annual Missions Conference Feb. 8 through 10. “We believe this is the highlight of our church year,” said the Rev. William Lyle, senior pastor.
This year’s conference features: Dr. Jim Belcher, associate professor of practical theology, Knox Theological Seminary; and missionaries to Australia Dave and Jan Kiewiet and Steve and Beth Schoof.
Belcher received his Ph.D. from Georgetown University, having done earlier study at Gordon College and Fuller Theological Seminary. He is the founding and former lead pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, California where he served from 2000-2010 and led a period of steady growth.
His book, “Deep Church: A Third Way Beyond Emerging and Traditional” was awarded Christianity Today’s 2010 Book Award in the Church/Pastoral Leadership category. It continues to be widely read and is used as a textbook in many seminaries and colleges. His book brings insights from the emerging and traditional churches and forges a third way between the two, the third way. C. S. Lewis used the term “deep church” to describe the body of believers committed to mere Christianity. Belcher has been part of both emerging and traditional church worlds. In the 1990s he was among the pioneers of what was then called Gen X ministry.
His book provides constructive models and paints a picture of what an alternate, deep church looks like: a church committed to both tradition and culture that values both innovation in worship, arts and community and creeds and confessions.
Belcher will give the message at both 9 and 10:30 a.m., Feb. 10 worship services.
The Kiewiets and Schoofs have served as missionaries since 1986 and 1987 respectively. This will be the Kieweits sixth visit to Marco Presbyterian Church. The church was one of the first to support them and has supported them since 1985. During their first ten years the Kiewiets started three churches, two university ministries and a theological college. Dave served as the principal and lecturer of the Westminster Theological College from 1997 to 2007. In 2008 they moved from Brisbane, Queensland to Toowoomba to start another church. Jan taught Scripture to children in public primary schools. She also taught women’s Bible studies and mentored university women.
“We rejoice in the great mission’s emphasis of this church,” wrote Dave Kieweit in an email. “Of all the churches that we have visited during our furloughs, Marco has one of the strongest and most interesting Mission Conferences. We thank the Lord for this church and its heart for Gospel ministry to the ends of the earth.”
The Schoofs will be marking their twenty-fifth anniversary in Australia. Their ministry began in Penrith where they started a church. This was followed by eight years in Canberra for another church start while Steve also served as team leader for Mission to the World, the missionary arm of the Presbyterian Church in America. During the last fifteen years he served as lead pastor for a church in Perth while maintaining his leadership role with MTW. The church in Perth has grown considerably and is now multinational with 28 nations represented. Steve recently resigned as pastor and will concentrate on his work with MTW developing educational materials and starting churches. Beth continues to meet one on one with young women, notwithstanding the debilitating pain and difficultly walking due to a spinal cord hemangioma she developed in college.
Islanders have an opportunity to minister to others by participating in the food-packaging event on Feb. 9. Marco Presbyterian in partnership with Meals of Hope and Kids Around the World will package 30,000 meals. The nutritious meals will be distributed to the needy in Collier County.
“It’s a rewarding experience because the meals we package one week are on the table next week,” said mission’s team member Judy Roberts. The folks at Marco Presbyterian have taste tested both the macaroni and cheese and beans and rice dinner and found them to be delicious. Last year the church packaged 100,000 meals. A $10.00 donation will produce 40 meals.
Part time Marco resident Mitch Raab will tell of his short-term mission trip to the Ukraine last summer. He was part of a team that partnered with Oak Brooke Bible Church, Waterford, Michigan and the Revival Church in Kiev. Team members did a vacation Bible school for the children, provided a dental clinic in Maksimovichy, food distribution and provided money to purchase a building to be remodeled as a church in Mlachivka. Raab shared the gospel with adults and assisted with the food distribution.
“The transformation is quite dramatic as the building was somewhat structurally sound. However, it had been neglected for a number of years,” said Raab. The people in Mlachivka with assistance from Revival Church of Kiev transformed the building into a church they were able to use for their Christmas celebration.
“The biggest blessing of a short term mission trip is to see how God is working throughout the world,” said Raab. “The gospel transcends all cultures. The sense of community we have is amazing as we work towards the same goal.”
The Mission Conference schedule:
• Women’s lunch, 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 8, Beth Schoof and Jan Kiewiet will share the challenges and joys of their work in Australia.
• Taste of Nations, 6 p.m. Feb. 8 with food samples from 12 countries. The missionaries will also tell about their ministries.
• Men’s Breakfast, 8 a.m. Feb. 9, Dave Kiewiet and Steve Schoof will discuss being a husband and father in the mission field.
• Feed the Kids meal packaging, 11 to 1 p.m., Feb. 9.
• Kangaroo Kookout with the Aussies, 5 p.m., Feb. 9. Hamburgers and hot dogs provided, bring a picnic side dish or dessert
• Belcher will give the message at both the 9 and 10:30 a.m., Feb. 10 Worship Services. The missionaries will also address the 9 and 10:30 a.m. Sunday school classes.
• Dessert and coffee, 6 p.m., Feb. 10, MPC member Mitch Raab will tell of his experience on a short-term mission trip to the Ukraine and MPC’s pastors, the Rev. William Lyle and the Rev. Jan Werson will share mission opportunities here and abroad.
Marco Presbyterian Church, 875 West Elkcam Circle, Marco Island. Information call 394-8186 or go to marcochurch.com. All events are free and open to the public. Space is limited for the lunch and dinner, please call the church for a reservation. A five-dollar donation for the meal is appreciated.