In an increasingly conflict-ridden and fragmented world, the God who grants peace and wholeness calls Christians to understand and address the root causes of violence and injustice so that we may share in mending the brokenness that exists in our world. Peacemaking is the human response to God’s gift of peace giving.
An overview of the program
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.
Dates for the 2018 Peacemakers
Peacemakers will be available for visits this year from September 21 to October 15, 2018. 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 July 1. After that date a few peacemakers may still have limited availability.
Peacemakers for 2018
Visit the Meet the Peacemakers page for photos and bios of all the peacemakers. This year they come to us from the following countries/regions:
- Europe – The Churches Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME)
- Haiti – Fabienne Jean (accompanied by mission coworker Cindy Correll)
- Madagascar – Holiniaina (Holly) Rakotondralambo
- Palestine – Amal Nassar (available from September 21 – October 1)
- Palestine – Alex Awad
- Philippines – Roceni Bakian
- Rwanda – Jerome Bizimana
- South Sudan – Michael Muot Put
- Syria – Mary Mikhael
- Venezuela – Zulema García de Rojas (available from September 21-October 5)
The areas of focus for our peacemakers and the Matthew 25 Church Initiative
In the past our peacemakers have helped help the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) address the following five focus areas:
- Address the root causes of poverty, particularly as it impacts women and children
- Work for healing and reconciliation in cultures of violence and brokenness
- Share the Good News of God’s love in Jesus Christ
- Respond to natural and human-caused disasters
- Embody and advocate for God’s vision of a just and peaceful world
In 2018, we add to these areas of focus the Matthew 25 Church Initiative, which seeks to ensure that the Presbyterian Church (USA) confronts racism, addresses environmental concerns, stands against violence and militarism and advocates 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.”
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.
Request a Peacemaker
Planning the visit
Hosts are asked to design an itinerary 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 $450 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 $450 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.
Visiting the PC(USA) between September 21 and October 15
The following individuals have been selected (many of them nominated by our partners) and agreed to serve as International Peacemakers this year:
Representative of the Churches Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME)
This ecumenical organization founded in 1964 represents churches and ecumenical councils in 18 European countries. CCME promotes the vision of an inclusive community through advocating for adequate policies for migrants, refugees and minority groups at European and national levels. CCME identifies the following 2018-2020 priorities for its work: safe passage, Europe and international refugee protections, Europe and international migration, upholding the dignity of person, addressing discrimination and uniting in diversity.
Fabienne Jean and Mission CoWorker Cindy Correll
Fabienne Jean was born in 1986, year when the dictatorship of Jean-Claude Duvalier, also known as Baby Doc, ended in her native country of Haiti. She received her degree in secretarial work, and she began her career with the Peasant Movement of Papaya (MPP), one of the largest peasant organizations in Haiti. It is because of this work that she learned to know the true reality of the underprivileged people of her country, and how they can work together to find solutions. After a few years with the MPP, she was named assistant coordinator with the Hands Together Foundation of Haiti network. Known by its Haitian Creole acronym FONDAMA, the network is part of Joining Hands, an initiative of Presbyterian Hunger Program. In April 2014, Fabienne was promoted coordinator of FONDAMA, this national network of 11 organizations. As the coordinator, her role is to work with the member organizations of FONDAMA, civil society and the decision-makers to find lasting solutions to the problems that impoverish the population of Haiti. Also in 2014, Fabienne earned a degree in business management, but said she learns more from the people of rural Haiti. “These past few years of working with people have taught me that the first and greatest blessing is to have the opportunity to serve others,” she said.
Cindy Corell is a native of the Shenandoah Valley, growing up on a farm in Stuarts Draft, Va. After graduating from Longwood College in 1984, she began what would be a 28-year career in the newspaper industry. She worked as reporter and editor for The News Leader in Staunton, Va., until leaving to serve as a mission co-worker with Presbyterian Church (USA) World Mission in 2013. She serves as a companionship facilitator with the Presbyterian Hunger Program’s Joining Hands network in Haiti. Known by its Haitian Creole acronym FONDAMA (Hands Together Foundation of Haiti), the network is made up of 11 grassroots farmer organizations across Haiti. The member organizations serve their individual communities in promoting agriculture, environmental improvements, clean water and education. Together, the organizations address root causes of the country’s poverty such as land-grabbing, food imports and climate change by creating campaigns to reduce their harmful effects. Cindy’s role in the network is to accompany FONDAMA’s leaders, provide assistance and research and host visiting delegations to Haiti. Cindy is an ordained deacon and a member of Tinkling Spring Presbyterian Church, Fishersville, Va.
Holly Rakotondralambo serves as programs director for the Department of Development (SAF) for our partner denomination in Madagascar, the 5-million-member Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar, known by its Malagasy acronym, FJKM. The FJKM has multifaceted and holistic ministries that respond to the challenges of poverty, human exploitation, social and political conflict and environmental degradation. In her capacity Holly coordinates 5 integrated programs that seek to address issues of food security and nutrition, community health, environmental care, sustainable development and disaster response. The island of Madagascar, home to 25 million people, is one of the world’s poorest nations (92% of its population lives on $2/day ) while being one of the earth’s richest ecosystems (80% of its flora and fauna are exclusive to Madagascar). Holly has a lifelong commitment to natural resource management and sustainable development, especially in rural communities. She has worked previously with an environmental and resource management NGO and she holds a Master II degree in Environmental Management from the Polytechnic Institute of Madagascar.
Amal Nassar and her family have spent 20 years welcoming visitors from around the world to their West Bank farm called the Tent of Nations. They cultivate peace, reconciliation, and nonviolence through children’s summer camps and education for women, proclaiming boldly: “we refuse to be enemies.” (available from September 21-October 1)
Rev. Alex Awad served as Dean of Students and full-time instructor at Bethlehem Bible College in Bethlehem where he served on the faculty for 24 years. He is a charter member of the College’s Board of Directors and served since 1994 as senior pastor at East Jerusalem Baptist Church. He is a past board member of the Evangelical Local Council of Churches in the Holy Land, and directed the Shepherd Society, Bethlehem Bible College’s charitable ministry. Alex and his wife Brenda have moved to the Pacific Northwest to be closer to their children. Alex is making himself available to serve as an International Peacemaker this year.
Rev. Roceni S. Bakian has worked as a full-time pastor with the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) since 2000. Combining pastoral care and advocacy for migrant workers, she has counseled families mostly whose spouses are working abroad as domestic workers. She currently serves as the Conference Minister of the North Highland Associate Conference, which covers the Province of Kalinga, Ifugao, parts of Mt. Province and the Cagayan Valley. She has travelled to Hong Kong to meet with migrant workers from her region who comprise the UCCP congregation of Hong Kong. She also serves as the vice chairperson of RECCORD, which is a regional, ecumenically-based fellowship of churches called to build the communities of justice and peace for the proclamation of the good news and upholding the integrity of God’s creation. She is active in community work as a Justice Peace Advocate in the province of Kalinga. As a peacemaker, she promotes the fullness of life for individuals, families and communities, by preventing human trafficking and finding alternatives to forced migration. She and her husband Joel have two children, Joe Ian Ren and Hanna Magdalene.
Rev. Bizimana Nkumbuyinka Jerome serves as the President and Legal Representative of Remera Presbytery. He is the initiator of the Light Group, a cluster of former detainees of genocide perpetrators against the Tutsi Rwandans in 1994 and genocide survivors. Rev. Bizimana Nk. Jerome studied Peace Building and Conflict Resolution in Zambia in 2004 – 2005 at Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation. He is married to Jannette and father of 6 children, 3 boys and 3 girls.
Michael Muot Put
Michael Muot Put Ruai serves as the Youth National Secretary for the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan (PCOSS). He has extensive training in mediation, peace building, reconciliation, trauma and healing and leads trainings and workshops within the PCOSS. He will be speaking about peace and reconciliation in conflict resolution and the role of the church in working for peace. His previous church service includes serving as the the pastor in charge at Chotbora Parish in Eastern Upper Presbytery. Rev. Muot Put holds a Bachelor of Theology from Nile Theological College and a diploma from Giffer Institute of Theology. He speaks Arabic, English and Nuer.
Mary Mikhael is the first woman to become President of a seminary in the Middle East, having served as President of Near East School of Theology (NEST) in Beirut Lebanon from 1994-2011. In 2012, she was appointed by the Presbyterian Synod of Syria and Lebanon to interpret the church’s ministry among the Syrian displaced and refugees. In this capacity she serves as the communicator with partners churches in the United States and Europe. She is a sought-after lecturer and writer of countless articles related to theology and the position of women in the church. In 2010 she wrote the Presbyterian Women’s bible study, Joshua: A Journey of Faith. Mary has served on many boards and committees including the Theological Committee of the Fellowship of the Middle East Evangelical Churches, the World Day of Prayer and the Fellowship of the Least Coin.
Zulema García de Rojas
Rev. Zulema García de Rojas is Moderator of the Synod of the Presbyterian Church of Venezuela (IPV). In Venezuela’s deeply polarized environment, Zulema and the IPV work actively for peace and reconciliation. In her home town of Maracaibo, Zulema works actively with a local ecumenical group of clergy and seminary students to pray together for peace. Her congregation runs a weekly soup kitchen for local children who suffer from malnutrition. She has also created a program to train children and youth to be mediators and peacemakers. (available from September 21-October 5)
FOLLOW THE PEACEMAKERS
2018 International Peacemakers Itineration
We will post our 2018 International Peacemakers itineration after arrangements are confirmed. Please check back for their schedules between September 21-October 15, 2018. Once posted you will be able to click on a link for each particular visit. The link will open an email box to a local host who can provide more information about that particular visit.