Presbyterian Cheltenham Church

Mission


Since October 2007 the church has been supporting the work of the Presbyterian Christian Association of Mangalia – a mission church in Romania which runs a number of programmes for disadvantaged local people. In this ministry we are involved with a truly international team – the Minister in charge is the Rev Gilberto Coelho, who is a Missionary from the Presbyterian Church of Brazil.

Read more about our work in Mangalia >


The Need

The Need Living conditions in the Black Sea port town of Mangalia are typical of today’s Romania – high unemployment, high cost of living and very low pay, plus a poor underclass of ethnic gypsies and Turkish people who live on the fringes of the town and of society. Many suffer the disadvantage of illiteracy

The Presbyterian Christian Association of Mangalia This is a small church that has been in existence since 2000. As well as preaching the gospel and looking after its church members and attendees, the fellowship has a heart for helping the poor people of the town. They distribute clothing and household goods sent by churches in the UK, teach women to sew and make practical items for themselves and others, and provide healthcare/hygiene advice and family support.

Literacy Project – “This is My Chance”

In September 2007 the Mangalia church began a new literacy programme for local children aged between 8 and 13 years who have missed their chance to enter state school and are otherwise destined to remain illiterate. Named “This is My Chance”, this programme takes up to a dozen poor children and teaches them to read, write and learn other basic skills which enable them to join the state education system after 1 year. The programme also provides them with uniforms, all school materials and two square meals on each school day. In September 2008 the first 7 pupils began at the local state school, where they are doing very well. When school finishes each day at 1200 the children come to the church for a meal and do their homework, supported by church members. In 2008-09 there is only one pupil – the need for literacy training is now diminishing as the state is offering financial inducements to parents to send their children to school. “This is My Chance” programme will probably cease after summer 2009 and the church will turn its attention to another area of need.

Church Involvement in Mangalia

The church first became involved in supporting the church in Mangalia in October 2007 following an initial visit there by two church members. In April 2008 the church sent a team of 8 to provide tangible encouragement and support and cement a long-term relationship with our brothers and sisters in Mangalia. During the week-long visit the team participated in the life of the church – led the Sunday School and preached at the Sunday services via an interpreter. In addition they taught the ladies’ group (Dorcas Club) how to make children’s trousers and skirts, and built two large picnic tables for the church garden. Much time was spent with the “This is My Chance” programme, organising a sports day, field trips to a museum, aquarium and planetarium, plus what was for them a treat – a visit to McDonald’s and an ice cream parlour. In July 2008 CEPC funded and hosted a holiday in Cheltenham for the Mangalia Church’s pastor and his family.

In April 2009 a team of 6 visited Mangalia for a week in what has now become a commitment to visit once per year. The team led games in the Saturday night Youth Group, painted the church meeting hall, erected a fence in the church garden, took the children from “This is My Chance” for a field trip to a dolphinarium, zoo, and an exotic bird exhibition in Romania’s main port of Constanța, followed by a MacDonald’s Happy Meal. The ladies’ Dorcas Club made pretty aprons from kits the team took with them, and finally the team visited what is hoped to be a new church plant in the neighbouring village of Limanu. Weekly meetings, initially for children, take place in the simple home of two church members, where they have converted a 12’x12’ kitchen with an earth floor into a meeting room. The team presented the host family with 2 wall hangings with Bible verses to decorate the otherwise bare walls. It was again a privilege and sobering experience to spend time with all the brothers and sisters in Mangalia.

Mission News

Mangalia Mission Trip June 2012
Mangalia Mission Trip June 2012
Read more
Mangalia Mission Trip 2011 Video
Mission Trip Video
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Mangalia Romania Prayer Letter February 2011
Mangalia Romania Prayer Letter February 2011
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