Doug Tilton currently serves as Regional Liaison for Southern Africa, helping to strengthen the mutual ministries of the PC(USA) and its partner churches and institutions in six countries: Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Regional liaisons are in regular contact with the PC(USA)’s partners, exploring ways of working together and building the capacity of the global church to bear witness to the good news of Christ’s redeeming love for all humanity. Doug also provides support for other PC(USA) mission personnel in the region and helps to connect PC(USA) presbyteries and congregations with their counterparts in Southern Africa.
Serving as a regional liaison has given Doug a deeper appreciation of the importance of ministries of accompaniment. “Wherever I go, I am often surprised and profoundly moved by the ways in which God works through the mutual recognition, affirmation, and encouragement shared among brothers and sisters in faith from different parts of the world. It is humbling to visit a church where people have walked for several hours to welcome you, to share fellowship, and to celebrate together our common humanity and faith.”
Doug was commissioned as a mission worker in 1992. He was initially assigned to work with an ecumenical agency engaged in peacemaking and community development in a semirural area on the coast of KwaZulu-Natal, just south of Durban. From that vantage point, he witnessed South Africa’s inspiring transition from minority rule to nonracial democracy. During the country’s first democratic elections in 1994, Doug served as the provincial administration and financial officer for the KwaZulu-Natal Electoral Observer Network, the structure established by church and civil society organizations to provide electoral education and promote a free and fair poll.
Doug graduated from Macalester with a B.A. in history, political science, and economics. He was a Rhodes Scholar at Brasenose College, Oxford, where he received an M.Phil. in politics in 1985 before working for a year as legislative coordinator for the PC(USA) Washington Office on Africa. In that position he facilitated the office’s advocacy work on Southern Africa issues, including its support for the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act. Doug returned to England and received a D.Phil. in politics from Wolfson College, Oxford. From 1995 to 1997, Doug was again based in Washington, D.C., as a PC(USA) mission specialist assigned to do policy analysis and communications for the Washington Office on Africa and the Africa Policy Information Center.