Four mission activists with wide global experience join GEMN Board

Ms. Jenny Grant, the Rev. Paul Rajan, Bishop Alan Scarfe and the Rev. Canon Helen Van Koevering recently joined the Board of the Global Episcopal Mission Network.

Ms. Jenny Grant serves as the Officer for Global Relations and Networking in the Episcopal Church’s Office of Global Partnerships.  She develops mission-related resources, maps companion relationships across the Anglican Communion, shares the story of Episcopalians engaged in global mission, and works on other projects supported by departments across the Presiding Bishop’s staff.

Jenny served as a Young Adult Service Corp missionary in Kenya and a contractor on the Asset-Based Community Development initiative, “Called to Transformation.”  She is passionate about the intersection between faith and justice around the world and cares deeply about how the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement is participating.

Jenny completed undergraduate and graduate degrees in social work and non-profit management at the University of Georgia. She lives in Hickory, North Carolina, with her husband Jared and young son Harrison.

The Rev. Paul Rajan serves as Vicar of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Wantage, New Jersey, where he is a member of the Racial Justice and Healing Commission of the Diocese of Newark.

Paul originally comes from Tirunelveli Diocese in the Church of South India, and he is a third-generation Christian from the ministry of Bishop Leslie Newbigin, who was a missionary bishop to Madurai Diocese in Tamil Nadu State and a famed theologian and ecumenist. Paul went as a cross-cultural missionary to the neighboring state of Karnataka after completing his his Bachelor of Theology degree in Chennai (Madras) in 1986. The churches pioneered by him are now managed by the Friends Missionary Prayer Band, the largest missionary agency in India. He moved to New Zealand in 2000 and worked among migrant communities including Samoans, Tongans and Fijians, Fijian Indians, Sri Lankans, Ghanaians, Nigerians and the Asian and Indian diaspora communities under the umbrella of Global Peace Mission, Ethnic Voice New Zealand, and the N.Z. government.  He also has missional experience Singapore, Malaysia, the Pacific Islands, Australia and Japan.

Paul has served alongside missional networks such as the India Missions Association (IMA), the Karnataka Missions Network (KMN) and the Federation of Non-Residence Indian Christian Societies (FONRICS). He pioneered Christian Life Service in India and Global Peace Mission in New Zealand. When he came to the USA he pioneered InterChristian Initiatives, a 501c3 mission to reach and teach, which has become a GEMN member organization.

Paul has an MA in English from Madurai University, India, and an MDiv from the Interfaith Seminary, New York, where he served as dean of students for five years. Currently he is studying for the DMin from Bexley Seabury Seminary in congregational development. He holds an honorary doctorate from Bethania Theological Seminary Chennai, India, and he completed GEMN’s Mission Formation Program in 2021. Paul and his wife have two sons, ages 14 and 8.

Recently retired as Bishop of Iowa, the Rt. Rev. Alan Scarfe was born and raised in Bradford, England, where he was surrounded by global mission. His local Methodist parish “nested” congregations from the Caribbean and China, and sent missionaries to Thailand. After studying theology at Oxford University, he spent two graduate years in Romania, during the Ceausescu regime, at the Romanian Orthodox Institute, where he also worked clandestinely for human rights. He was confirmed and became a lay reader in the Anglican Church in Bucuresti.

Coming to the United States, Alan trained missionaries for the Slavic Gospel Association in Wheaton, Illinois, and directed a research agency, Keston USA, which supported religious freedom in communist lands.  After moving to Los Angeles, he pursued a call to ordination in the Episcopal Church, serving as priest at St Columba’s in Camarillo, and St Barnabas’ Eagle Rock, where he supported work in the Middle East and in South Africa.

In 2002 Alan was elected Bishop of Iowa, retiring in December 2021. He oversaw companionships with the dioceses of Swaziland (Southern Africa), Brechin (Scotland), and Nzara (South Sudan) and traveled to each diocese multiple times. He spent a sabbatical in Swaziland in 2011, combining priestly, pastoral and episcopal duties under  license from the archbishop of Southern Africa.

“I am thankful that Christianity has always been a global experience throughout my life,” Alan said.

The Rev. Canon Helen Van Koevering spent 26 years as a missionary, some of it under the auspices of U.S.P.G., the oldest British mission society, in the Diocese of Niassa, Mozambique, where she served at various times as a community development officer, women’s desk officer, diocesan secretary, parish priest and director of ministry.

A British citizen, Van Koevering is rector of St. Raphael’s Church in Lexington, Kentucky; her husband Mark, a USAmerican whom she married in Mozambique, is Bishop of Lexington.  Helen also served two years as a missionary in Zimbabwe, as World Church Officer in the Diocese of Monmouth, Wales, where she worked with Bishop Rowan Williams, and as General Secretary of the Mozambique and Angola Anglican Association. She holds a B.A. from Durham University, M.Phil. from Bristol University, and D.Min. from Virginia Seminary.  She is the author of Dancing Their Dreams: A Theological Reflection on the Lives of Anglican Women on the Lakeshore of the Diocese of Niassa, Mozambique.

After serving an unexpired term on the 12-member board, Grant was elected to a 3-year term at GEMN’s annual meeting on May 13, when Rajan and Scarfe were also elected in tandem with the churchwide Global Mission Conference organized by GEMN.  Van Koevering was appointed to the Board on June 7.

Three Board members rotated off the Board this spring after completing two terms: the Rev. Dr. Jim Boston of the Diocese of Oregon, Mr. Bill Kunkle of the Diocese of Southwest Florida, and the Rev. Canon Dr. Titus Presler of the Diocese of Vermont and Bridges to Pakistan. The Board appointed Kunkle to continue as GEMN’s treasurer, and appointed Presler to be the network’s executive director.

The GEMN Board consists of 12 members, who serve 3-year staggered terms. Members are limited to two terms before they rotate off for at least a year.

Posted in GEMN Organization, Mission Leaders.