MISSION UPDATE—MARK RICH AND CYNTHIA HOLDER RICH
TUMAINI UNIVERSITY MAKUMIRA, ARUSHA, TANZANIA
Greetings from Columbus OH! We are still here—BUT NOT FOR LONG!
We have received approval and booked tickets, and will be back home on campus by the middle of next month! We’re grateful, excited, and looking forward to seeing our students and colleagues soon. The 2020-2021 academic year starts in late November, so we are happy to be able to plan to be back home. WE ARE TAKING SAFETY PRECAUTIONS—masks, distancing, and monitoring of any sign of symptoms will be part of our life for the foreseeable future.
CONGRATULATIONS PASTOR MARIAM CHARITY! Pastor Mariam Charity defended her MTh thesis in Missiology, entitled “On Being a Married Woman Pastor: The Cost of Service as Pastor, Wife, and Mother”, late last month. Cynthia served as supervisor of this research project, which outlined the ways in which identities as pastor, wife, and mother create overlapping burdens that can become unsustainable. As the defense was set for morning in Tanzania (7 hours ahead of EDT), we took part in the wee smalls! (check out the clock on the computer!) Pastor Mariam’s work is superb and should serve as a guide for the church to move toward greater justice and inclusion.
EVERYWHERE WE’RE INTERPRETING…We are grateful to have been able in this season to make 31 (almost all virtual) presentations in congregations since March! We’ve also worked with both ELCA synods and PCUSA presbyteries to share about the mission of God in the world and particularly in Tanzania and at Tumaini University Makumira—and this work is continuing, with a number of meetings in coming weeks before we leave the US. As lots of congregations, synods, and presbyteries have gotten much more adept at online ministries of many sorts, we hope and expect to take part in congregations from Tanzania. BE IN TOUCH if you’d like us to share with you!
CAN WE JOIN YOU IN ADVENT? Shout out to Olivet Lutheran Church in Sylvania, OH and Pastor Nathan Tuff for the suggestion of our making a video recording that they will share as part of the congregation’s Advent observance and celebrations. This has moved us to ask: where might we be able to share an Advent reflection via video recording? Is this something we could share more broadly? PLEASE BE IN TOUCH if we can share a recording with you for use in worship, education, fellowship, or celebration.
GRIEF AND GRATITUDE—Cynthia’s brother Calvin Holder became gravely ill after surgery in late spring this year. He died in August. We are both grateful that we have been in the US during this period, as communication was made much easier; and we are both sad that the pandemic made visiting Calvin and our sister-in-law Arlene during his illness impossible—in fact, even Arlene was rarely able to visit him in the more than three months he was hospitalized. This loss of the first of our siblings has moved us both to be more intentional about reaching out to family and friends as this strange season continues. All Saints will be especially poignant for us this year. We know we join millions of brothers and sisters around the world remembering those who have been lost.
VISIT TO FAMILY AND CAPE COD—with the kind invitation and of clergy friend Anne Weirich (thanks Anne!), we were able to visit family in the Boston area and spend healing and restorative days at the coast. This required Covid-testing before the trip and social distancing during visits. We celebrated family birthdays—in a garage, socially distanced, with chilly temps! Here we share some views from this special time, along with some views of the beauty of fall in Massachusetts and Ohio.
We think of all of you, living through this challenging time. We send this with our prayers for you and your ministries, and with requests for prayer for us as we prepare to return to our work. May the blessings of autumn be with you all! We wish you peace in Christ, safety and health. Blessings!
Sincerely, Cynthia and Mark