Why I Serve: Greg Goodwiller
Greg Goodwiller is the Synod Executive of the Synod of Living Waters; and is the Presbytery Executive of the St. Andrew Presbytery. He is also a member of the Living Waters for the World’s Board of Directors
Q: Living Waters for the World (LWW) was birthed in and is a vital ministry of the Synod of Living Waters, Presbyterian Church (USA). For those not familiar with the work of synods, would you explain their function and how LWW serves as an expression of the Synod of Living Water’s call?
The Book of Order says that synods serve “as a corporate expression of the church throughout its region.” All sixteen of our PC(USA) synods function differently, but each of us is responsible for the mission of God through the Presbyterian Church (USA) in our region. It is the only place in our denomination where we have regional mission conversation. And in my brief tenure as the new Synod Executive, I’ve tried to highlight the importance of that conversation as a building block for new mission connections and partnerships.
Living Waters for the World is a wonderful example of how – through the Synod of Living Waters – presbyteries joined together in mission for a cause that is both local and global: clean water for all God’s children. It began as a project in the Presbytery of St. Andrew, and utilized synod connections to grow and expand.
Q: You have supported LWW in a variety of capacities since its inception. Starting from the beginning, will you summarize your involvement over the years?
I first heard of LWW when I was a pastor in south Mississippi in the 1990's. But in 2000 I became the Presbytery Executive in St. Andrew Presbytery, and met LWW founder, Rev. Wil Howie, who is one of our minister members. My primary roles over the years have been in the areas of hosting and facilitating, and providing help with ecclesiastical and administrative matters as the organization has grown and evolved over time.
Q: When you consider your history with LWW, of which accomplishment(s) are you most proud?
I am exceedingly proud to have been part of the creation of Clean Water U at Camp Hopewell. As I stated above, my role was largely administrative support – which included the negotiation of licensing agreement with the presbytery through its trustees as well as running the decision making process culminating in a presbytery decision to authorize it.
Greg (third from right) joins other LWW leaders for the 1,000 water partnership celebration at Clean Water U. Pictured left to right are: Steve Young, Rubenia Sanchez, Seth Guterman, Terry Newland, Greg Goodwiller, Ancy Fils-Aime, and Wil Howie
Q: What bright spots do you see in the future for LWW? I think the next phase of LWW’s existence is critical. Just as the creation of Clean Water U at Camp Hopewell in Oxford, MS made 1,000 clean water systems possible, the next thousands of systems will only be made possible by the creation of new training programs in other places, including in the countries where LWW has developed strong networks, and where we can build on other existing networks and missional relationships. I am excited by what I see beginning to take shape in that expansion. Q: When you're not volunteering for LWW, where are we likely to find you and what would we find you doing? Probably in my kitchen. I love to cook, and I love to experience other lands and cultures through their foods and flavors. Actually, even when I am volunteering for LWW, that is where I can often be found, whether it is hosting a dinner for Clean Water U Faculty upon their arrival for a new session (various presbytery and camp staff take turns hosting those dinners), or even for an occasional special dinner or celebration!