The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program makes it possible for leaders from our partner denominations and partner organizations around the world to visit the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) each year to interpret issues of peace and justice. Since 1984 approximately 300 International Peacemakers from 60 countries have been hosted by Presbyterians. These visits have informed Presbyterians, opened hearts and minds, touched lives, established relationships and inspired new ministries. By sharing stories of their work and witness, the peacemakers help us understand peace and justice concerns around the world and provide insights that can inspire us to greater faithfulness. Their visits broaden our sense of God’s inclusive family and help equip us to build a culture of peace and nonviolence for all God’s children.
Peacemakers will be available for visits this year from September 13 to October 7, 2019. Before and after their iteration they will gather in Louisville at the Presbyterian Mission Agency for orientation and debriefing.
Visits to hosting mid-councils and institutions generally last 3-5 days, excluding travel days. Not all visits must or may include a weekend. Midweek visits can be ideal for colleges, universities or theological institutions. Mid-Councils, clusters of congregations and educational institutions may apply to host a peacemaker. Apply by July 1. After that date a few peacemakers may still have limited availability.
Peacemakers for 2019
Europe – Migrant Ministries
The areas of focus for our peacemakers and the Matthew 25 Church Initiative
In 2019, our peacemakers have been selected to help the Presbyterian Church (USA) live into the “Matthew 25 Church Initiative,” which seeks to ensure that the PCUSA continues to confront racism, address environmental concerns, stand against violence and militarism and advocate for the dispossessed. The initiative calls for the whole church, at all levels, to locate itself with the poor and to advocate and take risks for and with the poor…”in the soup kitchens and catholic worker houses, among the immigrants, with those working to end mass incarceration, and with those who seek to protect all of us, especially the poorest of the poor around the world, from the vagaries of climate change.” The International Peacemakers will also focus their time on the three priority areas of the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s work: Racism, Poverty and Church Vitality. And they will help us become a Matthew 25 Church by sharing unique experiences and stories from their work in the following areas:
HUNGER MINISTRIES: I was hungry and you gave me food
CLEAN WATER/ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE: I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink
IMMIGRATION/MIGRATION/REFUGEE WELCOME: I was a stranger and you welcomed me
POVERTY ALLEVIATION: I was naked and you gave me clothing
HEALTH AND WELLNESS: I was sick and you took care of me
RACISM/SYSTEMS OF OPPRESSION AND VIOLENCE: I was in prison and you visited me
International Peacemakers: a partnership
Thanks to a collaborative effort between the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program and World Mission, International Peacemakers who require translation assistance are often accompanied by PC(USA) mission workers. This partnership allows Presbyterians to hear firsthand from both a peacemaker and a mission worker who represents the PC(USA) in the region. Together the peacemaker and mission co-worker share stories of connection and partnership between the PC(USA) and our ministry partners.
Planning the visit
Hosts are asked to design an schedule for the peacemaker’s visit that provides many opportunities for meaningful engagement between the peacemaker and various groups and gatherings. Schedules should planned carefully and thoughtfully to make good use of the peacemaker’s time and talents without it being overwhelming or exhausting. Including a variety of groups and settings enriches the experience both for the peacemaker and the mid-council or institution.
Hosts of peacemakers provide hospitality for the peacemaker during the visit. They arrange for the peacemaker’s lodging, meals and local transportation. Ordinarily a team of people from the mid-council or institution share the responsibility for the logistics of the visit.
Costs and travel
The hosting organization is asked to contribute $475 to help defray the cost of the program. The Peacemaking Program covers all international and domestic airline travel costs. We will make travel arrangements, purchase tickets, provide honoraria and health insurance, and inform hosts of travel schedules. As soon as your peacemaker’s visit has been confirmed, instructions for making the payment of $475 will be sent to you.
Application and notification
Please use the online application form to apply to host a peacemaker. Apply early but no later than July 1. Applicants will be notified automatically that their application has been received. If you do not receive an automatic reply, please check with the Peacemaking Program at 502-569-5805 to confirm receipt of your application. Placements will be made as soon as possible following application. Late applications will be filled as space is available.
All hosts, whether new to the program or experienced, are expected to take part in a mandatory webinar led by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program.
Available between September 13 and October 7
The following individuals have been selected (many of them nominated by our partners) and agreed to serve as International Peacemakers this year:
Alba Rostan is a member of the Evangelical Waldensian Church of Río de la Plata (IEVRP) and Administrator of the United Board of Missions (JUM) in Chaco, Argentina. JUM is a ministry with the Qom and Tobas peoples in the Chaco, a region that skirts northern Argentina, southern Bolivia, parts of eastern Brazil and part of Paraguay. The Waldensians are founding members of this mission. JUM has accompanied the Qom and Tobas peoples in their struggle for land rights, access to education and healthcare, and to re-read the Bible through the lens of their own language and culture. Alba has also helped to organize Qom and Tobas women to combat gender violence and develop artisan cooperatives. Trained as a nurse, in 1985 she signed up for a volunteer year with JUM and 35 years later she is still there! Alba is married, has one son and one grandchild.
Jaff Napoleon Bamenjo serves as the Coordinator of RELUFA, the Network for the Fight Against Hunger, a Joining Hands partner of the Presbyterian Hunger Program in Cameroon. Jaff coordinates the advocacy campaigns on land and food justice and transparency in the extractive industries. Jaff started working with RELUFA in 2009 as program assistant and in 2011 was promoted as the Coordinator of the network. He will be speaking about the work of RELUFA to address the root causes of poverty and hunger, the recruitment of young people by the Boko Haram insurgency in Northern Cameroon and the ongoing conflict in the Anglophone part of Cameroon, a conflict that has also affected neighboring countries like Nigeria. These conflicts have caused internal displacement and pose a great challenge to peace and security in the country. “Christians have fled into the bush and to neighboring states, and churches are now empty,” Jaff writes. He holds a Masters degree in Development Studies from the Institute of Social Studies in the Hague, the Netherlands where he majored in the Politics of Alternative Development, and a Bachelors degree in Political Science from the University of Yaounde II in Cameroon.
Xinia Briceño, accompanied by Karla Koll
Xinia María Briceño is currently the administrator of three rural aqueducts in the Caribbean region of Costa Rica. Xinia was born in the capital city of San Jose and moved to the community of Milano, Siquirres in 2005. She soon discovered that the water sources for the community were being contaminated by agrochemicals used in nearby pineapple plantations. In 2009 she was elected the president of the Rural Aqueduct Association of Milano. She has led her community in a protracted legal battle, which reached the Interamerican Court of Human Rights, to force the Costa Rican government and the pineapple industry to clean up Milano’s water sources. Xinia is the vice president of the National Union of Communal Aqueducts, the president of the Environmental Committee of Milano, and on the board of several other organizations. Her presentation will address contamination of water sources, models of agricultural production, the role of transnational corporations and climate change. She lives with her husband, Roberto Brenes, and their two daughters in Milano.
Karla Ann Koll, a Presbyterian Church (USA) mission co-worker, serves as professor of history, mission and religions at the Latin American Biblical University in San José, Costa Rica. Through her previous mission experience in Nicaragua and Guatemala, she has gained an understanding of the struggles throughout the region for greater justice and to protect the environment. A graduate of St. Olaf College, she holds two master’s degrees from Union Theological Seminary in New York and a doctorate from Princeton Theological Seminary. A native of Colorado, Karla is a teaching elder member of Pueblo Presbytery. In Costa Rica, she teaches women and men from throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Among the courses she has taught recently is a seminar on eschatology in times of climate change.
Izett Samá Hernández
Izett Samá Hernández is an AfroCuban pastor with the Presbyterian-Reformed Church in Cuba (Iglesia Presbiteriana-Reformed en Cuba). Her thesis at the Protestant Ecumenical Seminary in Matanzas, Cuba pertained to the participation of AfroCubans in the Presbyterian-Reformed Church in Cuba. She has written numerous articles on religion and race and works with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center in Havana to improve the material and spiritual lives of people in Cuba.
Maria Bock Barett
María Bock Barett is an ordained minister and serves as Coordinator of Social Action for the Dominican Protestant Church (Iglesia Evangélica Dominicana). She oversees the denomination’s major programs aimed at transforming lives in local communities: solar ovens, purified water and community health evangelism (CHE). Even though she first was trained and worked as a chemical engineer, Rev. Bock has served as pastor to a number of marginal, urban congregations in the capital of Santo Domingo as well as working as a volunteer in the social action arm of the church, which she now coordinates.
Democratic Republic of Congo
Monique Misenga Mukana
Monique Misenga Mukana serves as President of the Presbyterian Community of Kinshasa (CPK)’s Committee in Charge of Projects. She previously served the CPK as Director of the Department of Women and Families and as Coordinator for HIV/AIDS. She also serve as President of a Christian non-profit organization Woman Cradle of Abundance. Through education and income generating projects, the organization helps women lift themselves out of extreme poverty. Monique has also served as the National Secretary of the Protestant Women’s Federation in DR Congo and as a member of the World Council of Churches Central Committee. She holds a degree in education from Institut Superieur Pedagogie in Gombe. She will be speaking on women’s rights and her work to end violence against women, particularly sexual violence used as a weapon of war.
Europe – Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME)
Arlington Trotman is the former moderator of the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME), an organization of churches and ecumenical councils from 18 European countries that advocates for migrants, refugees and minority groups. He also served as the former CEO of the Churches’ Commission for Racial Justice at Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI). He is an ordained minister with the Methodist Church in Britain serving in a variety of capacities. He previously served as managing director of AW Trotman Associates doing work on anti-racism and discrimination as well as equality policy and practice promoting good community relations in church and society. He is an experienced trainer and conference speaker on a variety of topics including professional and personal mentoring and human rights. He has authored a number of publications and books including Beneath the Surface, Hurricane Katrina, Fact Finding Addressing Racism in the Southern States; Sanctuary, Guidelines for Church and Society Offering Asylum Protection; and Redeeming the Time, All God’s People Must Challenge Racism.
Thang Van Lian
Thang Van Lian has served as a pastor with the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar for almost 20 years. He grew up in a poor and rural village experiencing significant challenges, racial and religious discrimination and life-threatening situations. Myanmar has been embroiled in ethnic conflict for centuries, resulting in human rights violations, poverty, oppression, racial and religious discrimination, a half-century old civil war and most recently the internal and international Rohingya refugee crisis. Lian is currently working on his Doctor of Educational Ministry at Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta. He is also serving as pastor of a refugee community church in Clarkston City, known as one of the most diverse cities in the world with refugee communities from around the world. From this congregation he has gained a unique perspective on life in the United States. He will speak about the Rohingya crisis, the current civil war on ethnic minority groups, the silence of the Myanmar churches and what a faithful response of Christians and the Christian church might look like to a humanitarian crisis such as the one being faced in Myanmar today. He will also share the current peace, justice and development work of the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar.
Muna Nassar is a writer, freelancer translator and a literary/culturally infused personality, based in Bethlehem. She spends her time reading, enjoying classical music and working for a better Palestinian future. She is involved in the cultural domain in Bethlehem, and is currently working with Kairos Palestine, a Christian Palestinian movement born out of the Kairos Document, which advocates for ending the Israeli occupation and achieving a just solution to the conflict. She writes, “as a young-adult Palestinian Christian trying to nd hope in a hopeless situation, I would like to talk about the meaning of hope, the realities that Palestinian young people face today and how hope may still be possible in my lifetime. I look forward to sharing a view of Palestine that is more than an occupied land, but a place with rich culture, literature and traditions.”
Dr. Muna Mushahwar-Koussa describes herself as “a Palestinian Christian Jerusalemite Ophthalmologist.” She was born and raised in Jerusalem and is Greek Orthodox by confession. She is active within the community, serving on the governing board of the Union of the Arab Orthodox Club in Jerusalem. She played a key role in regaining Christian Palestinian access to the churches and the Old City of Jerusalem during Easter celebrations after access had been restricted or forbidden by Israeli police progressively after 2007. Between 2012-2017 she served as the co-moderator of The Palestine-Israel Ecumenical Forum of the World Council of Churches. Muna is an advocate for peace through justice and has been involved in the work of Kairos Palestine since its launch in 2009, working with youth and women and meeting with pilgrimage groups. In 2016 she joined their board. She is a member of The National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine (NCCOP) as an individual and as representative of the Union of the Arab Orthodox Club in Jerusalem. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from George Washington University and obtained her medical degree in Jordan. She is a practicing ophthalmologist in Jerusalem.
Artis Petersons is a minister with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of European Russia (ELCER), our partner in Russia. He was born in Daugavpils, Latvia of a Latvian father and a Russian-German mother, two groups of people that have known persecution under the Soviet Union. Latvians today feel ill at ease on the border of Russia. This is a church in challenging circumstances. They are a minority church who’s historical connections across the former Soviet Union are challenged at this time by the political situation in the region. They are historically a German church in Russia. In 1941, as Hitler invaded, the Russian-Germans who had lived in Russia (the Volga Region, the Black Sea Region and Crimea) for 250 years were exiled to Siberia, the far north and the Far East, often to labor camps. Their pastors were executed and they survived as brethren churches. Their task for the last 30 years has been to rebuild their congregations and the leadership of the church as a Russian church, rather than a German church. When Crimea was annexed by Russia, ELCER became responsible for the Lutheran churches there and has worked to help them find their identity, whether that be Russian or Ukrainian. Artis holds degrees in aviation engineering and information technology. He is a graduate of Lutheran Theological Seminary in St. Petersburg and Catholic St. Thomas Institute. He was ordained in 2018 and serves as a pastor in Moscow.
Moon-Sook Lee is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea(PROK). She has served as the Executive Secretary of the Asian Church Women’s Conference (ACWC) since 2011. Prior to that, she was the Director of the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK), and General Secretary of the Korea Church Women United (KCWU). She has been an active ecumenical advocate for gender justice (including the full participation of women in church and society and the eradication of sexual violence and sex-trafficking), ecological justice, and peace and reconciliation on the Korean peninsula. She has organized multiple relief campaigns as well as national and international conferences focusing on the peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula. She has served as moderator of the Women’s Committee of the National Council of Reconciliation and Cooperation, as co-representative of the Women’s Division, South Korean Committee of the Joint Committee for Implementation of the June 15 Agreement (inter-Korean Summit 2000), and executive member of the Preparatory Committee for the Women’s Six-Country Talks, for which she visited the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Congress several times. She has served as a member of a civic lobbying group and as one of the ‘peace treaty’ campaigners of the National Council of Churches-Korea, sharing women’s civic and Christian perspectives and appealing for a peaceful resolution of the conflict on the Korean Peninsula.
Lucy Awate Dabi
Lucy Awate Dabi is a social worker by profession and works with RECONCILE International, the Resource Centre for Civil Leadership in Yei, South Sudan. RECONCILE, an affiliate church organization of the New Sudan Council of Churches (NSCC), works to equip communities with knowledge and skills for peacebuilding through psychosocial rehabilitation, civic education and advocacy. It works with communities in South Sudan, marred by civil war, to build trust, heal the wounds of trauma, transform conflict into peace, and promote reconciliation. Lucy has been a community worker for 13 years working at grass-roots and institutional levels. She writes, “I was once a victim of trauma, but now am a survivor of trauma. As such, I work tirelessly to build peace and positive change in my society, healing the chronic wounds of the recurring cycle of violence. I am always learning new things that impact my life and can positively transform my society.” Lucy is married and the mother of four children. Her youngest is a 1-year old infant who will be traveling with her in the United States.
Mabuchi Ndhlovu serves as the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP), Synod of Zambia’s director of community schools for vulnerable and marginalized children. As such, she oversees 32 community schools with 220 volunteer teachers that serve 6,200 orphans and vulnerable students. She has provided leadership in topics such as household dialogue, community health, caregiver training for home-based care groups and handling children with trauma. Her work with the CCAP also supports refugees, promotes health and wellness and addresses system of oppression and violence.
She is a teacher and counselor by profession and is the married mother of 4 children.
Lydia C. Neshangwe
Lydia Neshangwe is an ordained minister of the Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa (UPCSA), a transnational Presbyterian denomination with churches in South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. She currently serves as clerk of the Presbytery of Zimbabwe and minister of St Andrew’s Church, a culturally diverse congregation. She is the founder of the ‘Centre for Growth,’ a center that conducts seminars, workshops and group therapy sessions for personal growth, spiritual growth and wholeness. Lydia serves as the Zimbabwe Coordinator of an international non-profit organization, Hope’s Promise, providing orphan care in Zimbabwe, Nepal, Kenya and Vietnam. Her husband Paul is also a UPCSA minister and they have two teenage boys and multiple non-biological children. She writes, “Outside of my church and ecumenical responsibilities, I love arts and crafts, reading books from around the world and travelling.”
FOLLOW THE PEACEMAKERS
2019 International Peacemakers Itineration
International Peacemakers will be visiting presbyteries between September 13 – October 17, 2019. The itineration schedule is usually set by mid-summer prior to the fall itineration. Please check back for a list of each peacemaker’s visits along with links to the hosts’ contact information.
The Suicide Epidemic
Presbyterians Today | July/August 2019
Over the past 16 years, the U.S. suicide rate has jumped more than 30%. Churches have a pivotal role to play in this epidemic, creating safe spaces for those walking in darkness to talk openly and heal. The 2018 General Assembly urged congregations to get involved in suicide prevention. Presbyterians Today examines what some churches are doing and shows what you can do to help.