International Mission

The Power of Partnerships

At Westminster, we are committed to vital mission partnerships in the West African countries of Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

Our connection to West Africa dates back to 2001 and was sparked by the development of relationships with immigrants from West Africa living in the Albany area. Westminster soon attracted many new members born in African countries. Our African Ministries focus is an exciting commitment that was inspired by these personal connections.

Teams from Westminster have made multiple trips to Ghana and Liberia to meet with partners, visit project sites and participate in activities. Partners from Ghana have also visited us in Albany numerous times. These visits further our partnerships and facilitate joint mission planning.

Through partnerships, we strive to transform the lives of children and families in Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone through projects addressing shared priorities, including:

  • Education
  • Computer Literacy
  • Health Care
  • Menstrual Hygiene Supplies & Education
  • Clean Water and Sanitation
  • Micro Loans
  • Food Distribution
  • Agriculture/Food Production Enterprises
  • Support for Children Orphaned by Ebola

Keeping children healthy and in school is the goal at the heart of many past and current efforts. A key focus is keeping young girls in school in countries where educational opportunities are too often limited for young women.

Westminster has also been called upon to provide emergency assistance for disasters such as mudslides, Ebola, drought, sudden economic crises, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ghana

Westminster is a partner in mission with two Presbyterian churches in Tema, Ghana – Redemption and Greenwich Meridian. We also partner with HOCAP – a Christian, non-governmental organization headquartered in Tema. 

The Tema churches, Westminster, and other friends now join in a monthly prayer exchange.  Westminster is also actively involved in the Ghana Mission Network – PC(USA), which aims to “strengthen, expand, and celebrate mission collaboration between Ghana and the United States of America.”

The current mission focus of our partnership is on education; computer literacy; menstrual hygiene training and supplies; and access to health care. 

Education: On-going support is provided for a 3-room school in Okushibri – an off-the-grid rural village. Projects have included installation of a new roof; building a classroom; and providing supplies, such as desks and computers. 

Menstrual Hygiene: As part of our “Keeping Girls in School” initiative, we partner with HOCAP to provide menstrual hygiene training for girls, along with reusable MoonCatcher Project kits. 

Computer Literacy: Refurbished computers are shipped for use by students in school labs, including recent new locations at Redemption Valley and Okushibri. 

Access to Health Care: An exciting new initiative is HOCAP’s current construction of a much- -needed Health Clinic for the isolated rural village of Nyitawutu. Improved access to health care is key to keeping children in school.

Liberia

Westminster’s mission commitments in Liberia have been concentrated for over 10 years in the high-poverty, rural Bernard Farm community. We are excited to have established a new partnership with the Kingdom Embassy School in January 2021. Through this partnership, we continue with work to keep children healthy and in school by improving educational opportunities; access to healthcare, clean water, and sanitation; and seeding new initiatives with micro loans.

Student Scholarships: We support fifty students on full scholarships who represent the neediest youngsters in the community. These are children who would not otherwise be attending school.

Computer Literacy: Computer Literacy classes are being held using refurbished and fully-loaded donated laptops. 

Micro Loans: A new initiative to provide funds to individuals who otherwise have no access to traditional assistance such as a bank loan. Loans are typically used as seed money for inventory to sell in open air markets, to pay for medicines, or to cover the cost of school expenses such as supplies and uniforms for children. 

Addressing Health Care Needs, Menstrual Hygiene Education, and Nutrition Deficiencies: Funds fully support a part-time Registered Nurse who runs a twice-monthly health clinic at the school, teaches health classes and directs a menstrual hygiene management program. The nurse has also been able to test for and treat malaria which remains a major problem in coastal West Africa. Efforts are underway to develop a basic program to improve the nutrition of students.

Sierra Leone

Westminster partners with the Minah Academy Mission Orphanage (M.A.M.) in Freetown to aid the many children served at this facility. 

Food Distribution: Food supplies are purchased and distributed on a quarterly basis for children living at the Academy, as well as day students. 

Menstrual Hygiene Supplies: As part of our “Keeping Girls in School” initiative, funding is provided for the purchase of MoonCatcher Project menstrual hygiene kits. 

Support for Children Orphaned by Ebola: Funds are used to support children orphaned by Ebola. 

Computer Literacy: Computer literacy is being developed through the shipment of refurbished laptop computers to be used by teachers and students. 

Support for Presbyterian Church (USA) Mission Co-Worker in West Africa

Rev. Joshua Heikkila is the PC (USA)’s regional liaison for West Africa, where he facilitates partner relationships, implements regional strategies, and supports the work of other mission personnel. Westminster is actively engaged with Rev. Heikkila and also provides financial support.

Get Involved

African Ministries Committee
Join with concerned Westminster members and others to identify mission needs, discuss emerging priorities, and develop action plans.

African Family Night Fundraisers
Attend and support one of our African Family Night fundraisers. Families and friends of Westminster and the local African community gather for a free night of activities, music, speakers, and lots of very good food. While Westminster hosted the 2020 and 2021 fundraisers as virtual events, we hope to return to an in-person gathering in the future.

African Takeout Dinners
It’s our African Family Night Dinner TO GO! Enjoy authentic African cuisine prepared by our team of awesome chefs. Free-will donations are gratefully accepted.

Watch Night Service
December 31, 11:00 pm-Midnight (on Zoom in 2021)
Watch Night services are found in many Christian traditions throughout the world. We welcome you to join in fellowship and worship – reviewing the year past, and preparing in prayer and song for the year to come.