In response to the earthquake disaster in Haiti monies that the members and friends of our church have already given for mission were sent through the Presbyterian Disaster Relief Organization to help meet the needs of the crisis. In addition Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church sent a contribution, and individuals who chose to contribute further towards this response marked their checks (made out to Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church) for Haiti Relief; 100% of monies given are always forwarded on towards direct disaster relief.
Our partnership was established in December 1994 during a visit to Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church by Rev. Ditu Batupu Abel from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R. Congo). Shortly afterwards we provided funds for land and the building of Kingabwa Presbyterian Church in Kinshasa.In 1998 Rev. Dale Bracey visited the region for the dedication of the Kinshasa church building. Sunnyvale continued its support through sponsoring a computer training center, an English learning center, and a women’s sewing center. We also assisted in organizing major funding for the Kalamu Women’s Center in Kinshasa through Presbyterian Women.
In 2000 Rev. Ditu Batupu Abel visited Sunnyvale again. We tried (unsuccessfully, due to visa restrictions) to have some of the youth of Kingabwa accompany him.
In 2003 a team was commissioned to visit Kinshasa to evaluate the partnership. They worked with Dr. Mulumba M. Mukundi, General Secretary of the Presbyterian Community of Congo, as well as the Session and Pastor of the Kingabwa Presbyterian Church. It was agreed that we would continue the partnership with renewed energy for five more years.
There is no doubt that a partnership with a church so many miles away and with a language and culture so different from each other is difficult to maintain, but we remain convinced that we have so much to share with each other. As emergencies have arisen, we have given support to our brothers and sisters in Christ and they have continued to correspond via email with their prayers of support for us. While we continue to support various local projects, none have become self-sufficient as we had hoped.
This summer, as our partnership completes yet one more five-year agreement, we are forming an African Outreach Team to explore ways in which we can help in Africa. If you have a heart for Africa or you're just interested in learning more, please contact Dorothy Dickson.