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The Rev Pek Muan Cuang with the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Rt Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, and the Rev Ian Alexander, international partnership support manager
The Rev Pek Muan Cuang with the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Rt Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, and the Rev Ian Alexander, international partnership support manager

'We Are Very Thankful'

Monday November 20

The Rev Pek Muan Cuang of the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar, a Church of Scotland partner, tells Thomas Baldwin about the church's work in the face of violence and natural disaster

Church of Scotland leaders undoubtedly have a lot on their collective plate at the moment, but they may consider themselves fortunate when they consider the in-tray of the Rev Pek Muan Cuang.

Rev Pek, as he introduces himself, has been the General Secretary of the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar (PCM) - a Church of Scotland partner church - since April 2023. In that time the church has had to deal with widespread violence cause by civil unrest, the collapse of the country’s health and education systems, and two natural disasters which have caused considerable damage to both the church’s property and that of its members.

Visiting Scotland last month, Rev Pek was full of gratitude for the Church of Scotland’s support with the PCM’s work, but said that business was very much not as usual.

“It’s not good,” he says drily.

“We need to focus on the urgent needs of the people, because the challenges are now overwhelming. In recent weeks one village with 500 houses – 2000-2500 people - was burned down, so the people from that village fled down to the town and there are a lot of refugees, that not only PCM but all the churches around the town are busy with.

“Besides that, there are a lot of people not daring to stay in their villages and fleeing to town. The church is providing shelter, food and clothing.”

The church is also filling in the gap left by the closure of state-run schools, although Pek notes that ‘the children themselves are very happy!’.

“So our church took the initiative to start church schools. Since June the PCM has opened more than 20 schools, run by individual congregations and the General Assembly provides support and teacher training.”

Another challenge is healthcare. Pek says that the state-run hospitals have closed down because most of the medical staff have left. The PCM runs one hospital which is struggling to keep up with demand.

And there are challenges from other sources, too. “In May this year we had a very strong cyclone that had a devastating impact, a lot of church buildings and pastors’ houses owned by PCM have been damaged. And in August we had very heavy rain and flooding, which covered all the crops.”

Prior to becoming General Secretary, Rev Pek taught at the PCM’s Tahan Theological College, and was principal there from 2009-2015. It was there that he first became aware of the support of the Church of Scotland.

“The college doesn’t have a power supply from the state, since Myanmar has a very poor electrical system,” he says. “The Church of Scotland has provided us with solar panels and batteries to help run our office and library. So we can work, we can get light, get the computers running. It has been a great help.”

The other area in which the Church of Scotland has helped PCM has been in ministry to and by women. “We have been receiving support from the Church of Scotland to provide women’s empowerment and training. This includes a self-help project for women, where we are providing them with training and then they can open their own small business.

“Another thing is nurse training. The church provides the training costs for a year for nurses to train in a hospital, and then after getting their certificate they can go home and look after sick people in their local areas.

“And then we are empowering women’s leadership in the church, and aiming to have more women ordained as ministers in the PCM.

“Without the help of the Church of Scotland the women’s department of our General Assembly would not have such a meaningful ministry. We are very thankful for the prayer, support, concern, love and care for our church.”

Anyone interested in supporting the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar can contact Carol Finlay on