Hunter and Ruth Farrell visited us on Sunday to preach and teach. Broad Streeters met them 23 years ago as Mission Co-Workers in Peru, and we began to learn with them what it means to enter long-term mission partnerships and deconstruct a colonial model of mission. We have stayed on that journey and likely have a lifetime of work to continue on it. Hunter said a power phrase at lunch with a small group of us, “if we aren’t explicitly doing anti-racism focused mission, we’re participating in racist mission. Systemic racism is in the air we breathe in the US, and unless we work to deconstruct it, it will be the lens we continue to do mission through.”


A colonial model of global mission in the 21st century may look like this:

A Christian mission group considers where they might like to travel, then searches for a mission site based around that country and location. This is mission tourism and perpetuates American neo-colonialism. We fly in, take what we need from a trip, and “help” and fly out feeling really good about it. But when we show up as Americans, that comes with a whole lot of privilege and power, and no matter what the host says, they are accommodating for all your needs, the good and the bad.


So, what about us?

In the past, we too have done this model, but as we learn what it means to do anti-racist global mission, we are working to set aside mission tourism and have adopted the model of long-term partnerships. These are long-term relationships with a global community, with short-term visits. The PC(USA) has amazing global mission co-workers that offer these relationships and interpretations of mission. With this focus, the trips then switch from work trips to trips rooted in accompaniment, relationships, mutuality, and advocacy.


We at Broad Street Presbyterian Church have seen the transformative power of long-term global mission partnerships. When deeply invested in these relationships, we come hand in hand, rather than full of handouts. We have learned we don’t always know best, and we do not have all the answers. We know what it’s like to help our Peruvian partners with their work in fair trade, domestic violence, and environmental justice, but we also know what it is like to have our Peruvian partners send us donations for Hurricane Katrina, pray for our country’s gun violence in worship, and teach us about new models of climate care. Trips with a focus on accompaniment mean dancing together and eating together is just as important as painting a room or planting a garden. God shows up in the relationships. The Spirit is flowing through the world, not just the US, and to see God’s work in the world we have to work to put aside our American privilege and power and do better.


In Hunter and Ruth’s class, they share the 7 lessons they learned about global mission from us over the last 23 years. I close with sharing these as they are lessons that continue to guide us in global missions today.

  1. The Power of Intergenerational Mission
  2. The Power of an Open Heart
  3. Using the Gifts of All
  4. Intentional Preparation
  5. Commitment to Long-term Relationships
  6. Sharing Social Capital
  7. Fun!


-Written by Brittany Porch

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  1. Betty Lou Stull September 28, 2022 at 2:29 pm - Reply

    I think this particular blog should be shared with the presbytery. It is thought-provoking and could stretch other congregations’ thinking.

  2. Elizabeth Williams September 28, 2022 at 3:25 pm - Reply

    Thanks Brittany. Not being present for any of the services last Sunday you have given me a gift. This message was shared without words during my time in Peru with Ruth, Hunter, and the Peruvians.. I was privileged to be part of one trip that I will never forget,

  3. Libby Wetherholt September 28, 2022 at 10:43 pm - Reply

    I have been made very aware of this concern, not only through our partnerships, but also through reading of historical missionaries and their thoughts and actions in other parts of the world. I have been very thankful for the awareness that have come from all of our partnerships in mission opportunities. The early paternilism of missionaries has made me very aware of the harm that we can do/

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