As Tabernacle's congregation researched the Karens' situation, they uncovered an unusual story. In 1812, the first Protestant missionaries ever sent from the United States went to Burma. From Burma, Adoniram Judson wrote home asking for help. In 1828, Tabernacle Baptist Church in Utica sent printer Cephas Bennett and his family.Give the article a read. You'll be glad you did. (link)
For more than a century, Tabernacle had at least one church member serving in Burma, many in direct ministry to the Karen. But generations passed, and missionaries retired and passed away. The connection was all but forgotten.
Today, Tabernacle's pastor Mark Caruana says, "Distant cousins are being reunited with us. We marveled at the providence of God. Who would have thought that in Utica, New York, Americans would find this long-lost connection with people halfway around the world?"
Tabernacle's outreach to the Karen mirrors the entire city of Utica's outreach to refugees from around the world. People from 31 countries have made harrowing journeys to Utica, a town where bumper stickers once read, "Last one out of Utica, please turn out the lights."
Friday, February 16, 2007
Local PBA prof. Denise McGill has written a brilliant piece for Christianity Today about a community in New York with a heritage of merging "missional" with "living the American Dream." Below is an excerpt pulled from the article: