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 24 to October 18, 2021. Before and after their iteration they will gather in Louisville at the Presbyterian Mission Agency for orientation and debriefing.
Visits from International Peacemakers
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 June 1, 2021. After that date, a few peacemakers may still have limited availability.
2020 International Peacemaker Virtual Symposium
The 2020 International Peacemakers Program was conducted virtually as a symposium of 16 past International Peacemakers in 13 interviews, panel discussions and presentations. The symposium sessions are recorded and available to view.
The Areas of Focus for Our Peacemakers and the Matthew 25 Church Initiative
In 2021, 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 Between Peacemaking and World Mission
Thanks to a collaborative effort between the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program and World Mission, International Peacemakers who need interpretation assistance are often accompanied by either a PC(USA) mission co-worker or a Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) alumnus. This partnership allows Presbyterians to hear firsthand from both a peacemaker and a mission co-worker or young adult volunteer who represents or has represented the PC(USA) in the region. Together the peacemaker and mission co-worker or young adult volunteer share stories of connection and partnership between the PC(USA) and our ministry partners.
Planning the visit
It is best for a team representing the mid-council, institution or a cluster of congregations to work together to host the international peacemaker and to plan a meaningful and complete visit. The hosting team is asked to design a schedule for the peacemaker’s visit that provides many opportunities for meaningful engagement between the peacemaker and various groups and gatherings. Schedules should be planned carefully and thoughtfully to make good use of the peacemaker’s time and talents without being overwhelming or exhausting for either the peacemaker or the hosts. Including a variety of groups and settings enriches the experience both for the peacemaker and the mid-council or institution.
The host team provides hospitality for the peacemaker during the visit. They arrange for the peacemaker’s lodging, meals and local transportation. Ordinarily the team shares responsibility for the logistics of the visit and each team member has a role to play. Sometimes the team members each take responsibility for a day or a region, but it is best if hospitality is shared amongst many rather than done by just a few. If possible, for the sake of the peacemaker, it is best to provide lodging in one place for the duration of the visit rather than to move the guest from place to place each night. However, if your peacemaker is moving across the geography of your region and not return to a “home base,” it is less ideal but may be necessary to pack up and move during the visit. Please keep this hospitality issue in mind as you plan the peacemaker’s schedule.
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 June 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 watch our Host Orientation video led by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program.
2021 International Peacemakers
Nta William Niche
Nta William Nche is an ordained pastor from the Momo Division Northwest Region of Cameroon and serves as the National Peace Coordinator with the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon. With his deep knowledge and experience with peace work, he has been instrumental in efforts to stop the armed conflict in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon. He has participated in Cameroon’s National Dialogue, served as chairman of the steering committee of the All Anglophone General Conference and presently serves as founder of Peace Action Cameroon and as interim coordinator for Together 4 Peace Cameroon. He holds a master’s degree in Peace, Conflict and International Relations from the Pan African institute for Development West Africa, Buea. He is married and the father of four children.
Efi Latsoudi, is a psychologist who is a founding member and coordinator of the Pikpa Solidarity Camp in Lesvos, Greece, the first open, independent welcoming shelter for refugees fleeing to Greece primarily from Africa and the Middle East. More than 30,000 vulnerable refugees and victims of sea tragedies have been supported by Pikpa. In the last decade, Efi has been at the forefront of helping and welcoming refugees, providing for the shelter, needs and in some cases proper funerals of migrants, even going to lengths to identify them and inform their relatives. The most tragic day for Efi was October 28, 2015 when more than 70 migrants drowned just off the coast of Lesvos. This episode left a profound mark upon her humanitarian experience. In 2016, she was awarded the Nansen Award, conferred by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to those who go beyond the call of duty in helping people forcibly displaced from their homes. Efi is a member of Kayki, a Turkish-Greek network that raises awareness about deaths in the Aegean Sea. She has worked closely with Turkish and Greek lawyers and activists to organize events and create statements related to the Aegean Sea and the Turkish-Greek border. She has also participated in a number of research programs related to refugee deaths along borders, at sea and in hot spots. In 2016 she was one of the founders of the Lesvos Solidarity non-profit organization that created Mosaik Support and Cultural Center in Lesvos, a meeting point for refugees and locals. In 2018, Efi was one of four women who started NAN Social Restaurant, where refugees and locals cook together. She is also a filmmaker who has created short documentaries and films and written scripts for fiction films. Efi holds degrees from the University of Athens, School of Philosophy, the University of Picardi-Jules Vernes in Maitrise de Psychology Clinic and the University of Paris.
Jonathan Drake Vumu is the Executive Director of the Livingstonia Synod AIDS Programme (LISAP), a department of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP), Synod of Livingstonia in Malawi. Jonathan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and a Master’s in Business Administration. He has over ten years’ experience in program management especially in HIV and AIDS, Nutrition, and Early Childhood Development. A devoted Christian, Jonathan likes sharing Christ with others through preaching, prayer sessions and one-on-one evangelism. Jonathan enjoys watching soccer during weekends and is a diehard fan of Chelsea football club.
Julie Kandema is an ordained Minister from the Presbyterian Church in Rwanda. Since 2014 she has served as Vice President and deputy legal representative for the denomination. She leads the church program in charge of Church Growth supervising church activities related to evangelization, women and youth activities, deacons and Sunday School. She serves on a variety of commissions for peace building at the national and international levels. As Vice President of the Interfaith Platform for Dignity and Peace, she organizes inter-religious dialogues and other activities on peace and reconciliation. She looks forward to sharing with the Presbyterian Church (USA) her experience of the genocide against the Tutsi people of Rwanda in 1994. She will also share the efforts of the church in post-genocide Rwanda and the work done by different categories of people, particularly women and youth, to bring about true reconciliation and development in Rwanda.
Peter Yien works with the South Sudan Evangelical Presbyterian Church (SSEPC) as its director and trauma healing facilitator, primarily serving orphans and widows who need help and psychosocial support due to the trauma of war. The SSEPC works to create safe places for those who suffer most from the trauma of war, especially those who are living in refugee camps. The church also works for peace by facilitating trauma healing and reconciliation between victims and perpetrators of violence and by promoting reconciliation between the Nuer and Dinka people of South Sudan. Peter is currently working on peace conferences for the communities in the Greater Upper Nile region affected by war. He has translated trauma training materials from English to the Nuer language, which has expanded the healing and trauma recovery for numerous people. One example is a man named Uncle Chuol who forgave the neighbor who killed his wife and children. Another example is five widows in Kakuma who each welcomed ten orphans into their homes, impacting the lives of fifty children. Peter looks forward to the opportunity to share his experience and stories with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and to help churches in the U.S. understand more directly what it takes to heal the traumatic wounds of violent conflict.
FOLLOW THE PEACEMAKERS
2020 International Peacemakers Itineration
International Peacemakers will be visiting mid-councils, institutions and congregations between September 25 – October 19, 2020. Please check back for their itineraries as they are posted in mid-late summer. A lead host for each destination will be indicated and you are encouraged to contact that person to learn more about the peacemaker’s schedule.
Celebrate the Gifts of Women
God Disrupts Us with Love | Matthew 25:35-36 | by Jennifer L. Lord
On Celebrate the Gifts of Women Sunday, March 7, 2021, we are invited to honor women who work for transformative change and seek to end poverty and injustice.