Your congregation’s share of the Peacemaking Offering
Congregations are encouraged to retain 25 percent of the Peacemaking Offering to use in peacemaking activities within their communities or to support peace-related projects they are interested in. Here are suggestions for ways your congregation can use its share if you haven’t yet decided. The suggestions are listed under headings taken from the “Commitment to Peacemaking,” which identifies eight areas of ministries congregations can engage in as they pursue peace.
25 ways your congregation can enhance its commitment to peacemaking using its 25 percent of the Peacemaking Offering
Since 1983, the sessions of more than 4,500 Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations have signed the Commitment to Peacemaking, indicating that they will incorporate peacemaking into the mission and ministry of their congregations.
The 192nd General Assembly (1980) affirmed in Peacemaking: The Believers’ Calling that God’s peace giving is central to the gospel message. Therefore, people of faith engage in peacemaking following Jesus as an integral part of their congregational life and mission.
The “Commitment to Peacemaking” helps Presbyterians clarify and invigorate the peacemaking ministries of their faith communities. It identifies eight areas in which congregations can engage in ministries pursuing peace and seeking justice. (Seven of the eight areas are listed below; the eighth is to receive the Peacemaking Offering.) Many congregations use their 25 percent of the Peacemaking Offering to help implement their commitment. Often congregations will use these funds to support peacemaking ministries in which members are involved or that have touched the congregation’s life in some way. Suggestions follow for how to use the congregation’s share of the Offering to live out the Commitment. Order items with a Presbyterian Distribution Service (PDS) number by calling (800) 524-2612 or online. Shipping and handling will be added to PDS orders.
Provide worship that points to the reality of God’s peace giving.
1. Plan a community event to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Choose a theme from Dr. King’s life such as gun violence, poverty, immigration, or nonviolence. Partner with other faith communities and community groups. Organize a walk to significant community locations.
2. Use Praying for Peace Around the Globe in worship and during times of devotions. Order the book; $10.95 plus shipping and handling.
3. Purchase HIV/AIDS pins for congregation members for Presbyterian HIV/AIDS Awareness emphasis and World AIDS Day (December 1). The pins are made by people infected or affected by HIV and AIDS. Order in packs of 25; specify PDS 2538407001; $50.00.
Prayer and Bible Study
Encourage prayer, Bible study, and spiritual disciplines that nurture and deepen the spiritual life of the community and equip people to share the gospel message of peace to the world.
4. Create a “peace prayer” bulletin board. Postings can include prayers, joys and concerns, and pictures of people and places in need. Include the concerns and joys in worship service; encourage members to include the joys and concerns in their daily prayer.
5. Provide copies of the 2010 Advent Devotions: Proclaiming the Good News of God’s Peace (PDS 2435810006) to congregation members who are homebound, in nursing homes, serving in the military, or away for other reasons.
6. Offer a study of Living the Gospel of Peace: Tools for Building More Inclusive Community (PDS 7027004014). Invite members of another congregation or the community. Use Offering funds to pay for participants’ books and other expenses. $3.00.
Peacemaking in Families and in the Congregation
Create opportunities for people of all ages to develop peacemaking skills such as conflict resolution, mediation, or nonviolence training that will help them grow as peacemakers in their families, in the congregation, and in the community.
7. Organize a group to use the resource Resurrection Living: Journeying with the Nonviolent Christ. This journal helps people explore nonviolence individually or together. The Peacemaking Offering packet order form has ordering information.
8. Show and discuss The Power of Forgiveness. This video features stories on the Amish, the 9/11 tragedy, and peace-building in Northern Ireland and explores the role of forgiveness in various faith traditions. Learn more and order the video.
9. Study To Strengthen Christ’s Body: Tools for Talking about Tough Issues. This study explores skills and tools to approach conflict in ways that increase the possibility that the experience will be a constructive and creative one in which we discover God’s grace and the body of Christ is strengthened. Use Offering funds to pay for participants’ books, refreshments, child care, or other expenses. Order PDS 2435808001; $5.00.
10. Provide copies of Presbyterians and Military Service: Questions and Answers, 3rd ed., for youth and young adults in your congregation to consider options related to military service ranging from enlisting, to registering for the draft, to applying for conscientious objection status. Order PDS 7027005035 (English) or 2435807012 (Spanish); $.35.
Work with and support ecumenical and interfaith partners and other bodies in their pursuit of social, racial, and economic justice, to confront racism and all other forms of prejudice, and to respond to people in communities—local, national, and worldwide—who are caught in poverty, hurt by unemployment, or burdened by other problems.
11. Support the congregation’s participation in a congregation-based community organizing group. Visit the Small Church and Community website to learn more.
12. Hold an ecumenical or interfaith worship service or vigil to call the community to address gun violence. Include a reception as a time when people can meet, share stories, and strategize. Use Offering funds to pay for publicity, speakers, and hospitality.
13. Host a resource day to provide persons living with AIDS and those who care for them with information. Invite AIDS service organizations to be present. Include funeral homes and insurance companies.
14. Learn about the needs of veterans returning to your area. Sponsor a dinner or ice cream social or other event for returning veterans and those with family members who are currently deployed.
Study and Respond to Global Issues
Support human rights and economic justice efforts in at least one area of the world—through presbytery partnerships and sister countries.
15. Organize a study for children using Piece Work/Peace Work: Working Together for Peace and Sudan. The study helps children understand the challenges faced by the people of Sudan and the ways in which we can work with them for peace. Order PDS 2435809008; $8.00 plus shipping and handling.
16. Create a seminar for congregational members at the Presbyterian United Nations Office. Call (212) 697-4568 for information about arranging a seminar.
17. Participate in a Second Tuesday Briefing at the Presbyterian Washington Office. On the second Tuesdays that Congress is in session, the Washington Office presents a briefing on bills that relate to topics addressed by General Assemblies. After the briefing, attendees are encouraged to visit their members of Congress. Call (202) 543-1126 for information.
18. Provide scholarship assistance for congregational members to attend Ecumenical Advocacy Days—an annual gathering that involves worship, theological reflection, and education to mobilize for advocacy on a variety of domestic and international policy issues. Visit the Ecumenical Advocacy Days website for information.
Study global security concerns, work for worldwide arms control, and support alternatives to military solutions to international and civil conflicts.
19. Support economic development for Palestinians. Purchase fair trade olive oil from Import Peace at for use in congregational meals and for members to purchase.
20. Use Cluster Munitions: A Resource Guide for Religions for Peace to educate the congregation and community about cluster weapons and ways to work to eliminate these weapons that don’t discriminate.
21. Purchase Peace Bonds to support the work of the organization Nonviolent Peaceforce to create a trained, international civilian nonviolent force that will be sent to conflict areas to prevent death and destruction and protect human rights in an effort to allow local groups to seek peaceful resolutions. Buy bonds and find other ideas about how to become involved.
22. Study Eradicating Global Poverty: A Christian Study Guide on the Millennium Development Goals. The study guide explores the eight goals, which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education. Learn more and find ordering information.
Making Peace with the Earth
Protect and restore the environment through study, advocacy, and individual and corporate lifestyle commitments.
23. Use the Green Bible for worship services that focus on caring for creation. In the Green Bible, verses dealing with God’s care for creation are highlighted in green. Learn more on the Green Bible website; then order a copy from your local independent bookseller.
24. Use Eco-Palms in the Palm Sunday service. The palms come from communities where workers are paid fairly and engage in sustainable harvesting. Order Eco-Palms.
25. Organize a group to study The Power to Change: U.S. Energy Policy and Global Warming, approved by the 218th General Assembly (2008), and to implement some of the ideas for further education, action, and advocacy. Order PDS 0205209001; $3.00 plus shipping and handling.
Ways that some congregations used their share of the Offering in 2009
Here are some of the many ways Presbyterians reported that their congregations used 2009 Peacemaking Offering funds to work for justice and peace. These ideas may help your congregation as you consider what you can do in your community or around the world.
- contributed to The Family Tree, a nonprofit organization in Maryland that provides families with solutions for preventing child abuse
- supported domestic violence shelters for women and children
- provided worship services, birthday and holiday parties, tutoring, and other services to a newly opened state correctional facility for girls ages 12–19
- supported the Colombia Accompaniment Program, a partnership between the PC(USA)’s World Mission and the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship
- gived to a sickle cell foundation organized by a church member
- helped create a skate park for community youth
- provided for a program for homeless veterans with addiction problems
- supported a community lecture series on peacemaking topics
- sent a youth on an interfaith and ecumenical mission delegation to El Salvador
- helped fund the creation of a middle school program to combat cyberbullying
- expanded a community garden
- held a symposium and educational event about problems in North East Africa
- contributed to VIVE, Inc., which shelters refugees in the United States and helps them begin the asylum process
- supported PC(USA) HIV/AIDS project for orphans in Kenya
Ways that synods and presbyteries used their share of the Offering in 2009
Here are some ways that synods and presbyteries used their share of the Peacemaking Offering:
- organized a seminar at the Presbyterian United Nations Office on working for children’s rights around the world
- participated in efforts to reform immigration legislation
- offered scholarships for individuals to attend conferences and events focusing on peace and justice themes
- worked in recovery efforts on the Gulf Coast
- witnessed for peace in Sudan
- sponsored educational events and travel seminars about seeking peace and justice in Israel and Palestine
The information for the church that started a middle school program again cyberbullying: St. Andrew Presbyterian Church 1125 Terra Nova Blvd. Pacifica, CA 94044 Contact person is Penny Newall. Her phone number is (650) 359-2462. Email is firstname.lastname@example.org.