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Cross-cultural mission group announces its closure

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (PNS) The Association of Presbyterians for Cross-Cultural Mission (APCCM) ― founded in 1984 to give Presbyterian mission workers a larger voice in post-reunion conversations about global mission in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) ― has ceased operations, effective Sept. 1.

“We have over the past several months realized that as an association [APCCM] has outlived its original purposes, and that with the latest developments in information technology its newsletter ― now in an electronic format ― can no longer keep up with the many other ways of receiving and sharing significant information in the expanding area of international mission,” the APCCM board said in a statement announcing its dissolution.

John Webster, who served as the first president of the association from 1984 to 1994, said: “We feared that missionaries would have no voice in the inevitable restructuring and policy shifts which would result [from reunion]. We made lots of noise and also took a lot of polls of our membership so that we could truly represent this constituency in those years and beyond. It was worth the effort but …now the times are different and … APCCM has probably served its purpose.”

From the beginning, the leadership of APCCM worked closely with denominational world mission structures. “Over the years the relationship to Presbyterian World Mission was meaningful and mutually helpful,” the APCCM directors wrote in their statement. “In reaching what has been a difficult decision to terminate APCCM, the board notes with great appreciation the many persons who have shared the commitment to mission and guided the association along the way, especially Ralph Winter, Harold Kurtz, and G. Thompson “Tommy” Brown.

For more than 20 years, Brown ― a longtime world mission staffer in the former Presbyterian Church in the United States ― edited and published Cross Culture, the print newsletter of the association, producing 53 issues through November 2006.

The newsletter continued in electronic format, edited by retired world mission staffer Homer Rickabaugh, who has posted 45 APCCM newsletters in that format.

The Rev. Jim Cogswell, a well-known leader in Presbyterian mission circles, said: “It is with a mixture of sadness and deep appreciation that I learn of the demise of APCCM. For more than two decades it has been the primary source of information regarding cutting-edge developments in Presbyterian world mission.”

However, Cogswell added, “the electronic age has come and such information is now available online, thanks to the excellent work of the General Assembly World Mission Program. I am among the many who are deeply grateful for the work of those who have provided us with such a valuable service through APCCM.”

The Rev. David Hackett, an APCCM board member who concurred with the decision to bring closure to APCCM said: “I joined APCCM and eventually came to serve on its board because I agreed with its mission to promote and prioritize cross-cultural mission in our denominational mission effort. I also commended its ability to give voice to the experienced and valuable constituency of current and former/retired PC(USA) missionaries. I’ll always be grateful for the cause that APCCM stood for, behind, and with.”

Serving on the board at the time of APCCM’s closure were Mary Kay Sapp, Rickabaugh, Hackett, Carol Brees, Glen Hallead, Rachel Weller and Glenn Kenned.

Information for this story was furnished by the Rev. David Hacke.