Friends in Christ,
Happy New Year! As we move from Christmas to Epiphany, my thoughts continue to dwell on a powerful experience I had during Advent.
In mid-December, I had the privilege of participating in La Posada Sin Fronteras, a 25-year tradition where friends from Tijuana and Southern California come together at the U.S.-Mexico border to celebrate the coming of Christ in our midst.
The Posada is a re-enactment of the story of Mary and Joseph seeking shelter in Bethlehem the night of Jesus’s Birth. This celebration reminds us of the call to welcome and offer hospitality to those who seek shelter and sanctuary from harsh elements of this world — both natural and human caused disasters.
This year’s bi-national event was very moving, as the border wall kept us from celebrating as one community.
We prayed for these who lost their lives on the journey to a better life, including Jakelin Caal Maquin, a 7-year-old migrant from Guatemala, who died in detention on Dec. 8. Too often we prayed for Desconocido, meaning “unknown” in Spanish. We prayed for their families of those who died and all who are caught in the throes of a confusing and unjust immigration system.
As we sang “Silent Night,” we could hear the faint echoes of that powerful, gentle hymn coming from the other side of the wall. It was a prayerful sound of both lamentation and whispers of hope for a different future.
I grieved the artificial border that has separated us one from another. I grieved the loss of community and the opportunity to greet one another in the name of Christ. I realized how important it is to connect as members one of another, as the family of faith. It is the only way we will break down the walls that divide us — philosophical, political, religious walls, along with the physical walls that we build to keep out “the other.”
As we step in to this new year, it is my prayer that individually and collectively we can find the sacred spaces to do this hard work of crossing borders, of breaking down the dividing walls that separate us from greeting one another in the name of Christ and seeing the image of Christ in those we greet and welcome.
I invite you to seek opportunities, in your own community, in your own church to seek out those sacred spaces.
If the Spirit leads you, I also invite you to join Compassion, Peace and Justice as we offer several opportunities to gather in 2019.
April 5-8, 2019: Troubling the Waters for the Healing of the World, Compassion, Peace and Justice Training Day in Washington D.C.
June 23-29, 2019: Crossings: Destroying the Strongholds of Division – Ghost Ranch Conference Center in Abiquiu, New Mexico
August 1-3, 2019: Big Tent – Baltimore, Maryland.
As we move from Christmas to Epiphany, may the Light of Christ shine brightly,
Sara Pottschmidt Lisherness
“Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.”—Isaiah 58:12
The Compassion, Peace and Justice ministry area helps Presbyterians respond to the needs of the world’s most vulnerable people, address injustice in all areas of life and advocate for peaceful solutions to conflict. This ministry area also provides disaster relief, direct service, capacity building and development assistance to marginalized communities nationally and around the world.
CARE for God’s Creation
- Protect God’s earth so future generations may experience its beauty and its bounty
- Support food production that coincides with living in harmony with God’s creation
- Challenge systems that put profit ahead of health, safety and the environment
- Inspire and equip Presbyterians to work for eco-justice in their local communities
SPEAK Truth in Love to Power
- Protect children from all forms of abuse
- End human trafficking
- Amplify the voices of those society marginalizes
- Challenge systems of oppression and discrimination
- Stand with those who seek livable wages
END Poverty and Hunger
- Empower people to forge their own path
- Work for long-term solutions to systemic poverty and injustice
- Provide opportunities for Presbyterians to join the greater faith community in action
- Support training and capacity-building programs
- Support better education for all children
RESTORE Communities Impacted by Disaster
- Help those who help others
- Care for communities impacted by crises and catastrophic events
- Focus on long-term recovery
- Provide training and disaster preparedness for presbyteries and synods
Promote PEACE and Conflict Resolution
- Inspire new approaches to active peacemaking
- Equip God’s people to be compassionate and prophetic peacemakers
- Help communities of peace take action to transform the world
Follow Christ to the Ends of the EARTH
- Share the good news of Christ’s love to the far reaches of the world
- Care for those who suffer for their faith
The ministries of Compassion, Peace and Justice are supported by your contributions to the Presbyterian Mission Agency through your local congregation: