Making the commitment to peacemaking
The Commitment to Peacemaking is a tool to help Presbyterians engage individually and collectively in peacemaking ministries and was introduced to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in 1983. Since then more than 4,300 congregations and other groups have affirmed the Commitment and used it to shape faithful and creative ministries of peace and justice.
Making the Commitment to Peacemaking
a. declares that becoming a part of God’s peace-giving is a mission priority;
b. challenges growth along the peacemaking journey;
c. establishes a framework for planning and implementing peacemaking in every aspect of ministry
d. invites Presbyterians to work for peace in their own lives, families, communities and international arena;
e. provides a means for evaluating peacemaking efforts; and
f. encourages contact and cooperation with other congregations, communities and individuals in other denominations and faiths involved in peacemaking.
Who makes and affirms the Commitment to Peacemaking?
Sessions, Mid-Councils, Presbyterian Women and youth groups, colleges, seminaries, and peacemaking communities that include peacemaking as part of their life and mission. Groups will often reaffirm their Commitment to Peacemaking to celebrate and renew their peacemaking ministries. The session is the appropriate body to affirm the Commitment to Peacemaking in the case of a congregation (Book of Order, G-3.0201). Other emerging peacemaking communities will need to think through their procedures to determine if a board, council or the entire group is the appropriate body to adopt the Commitment.
When making the Commitment, does it mean having to do something in all eight areas of the Commitment to Peacemaking at one time?
No, the Commitment provides opportunities to choose areas of emphasis that can vary at different time as different needs and opportunities for ministry arise. Making the Commitment can help congregations and peacemaking communities understand that peacemaking is not a peripheral issue but a central declaration of the gospel and essential in the life of the church. The Commitment provides an invitation to grow in peacemaking as a multigenerational journey in transforming cultures of violence into communities of peace.
How might a session or an emerging peacemaking community decide to make the Commitment to Peacemaking?
A session or peacemaking community may adapt the Commitment in any way it believes will more accurately reflect its peacemaking ministries, provided the revisions are consistent with Peacemaking: The Believers’ Calling. In considering any adaptations, it may prove helpful to remember that peacemaking is done in a variety of arenas: self, family, congregation, community, the global neighborhood, and the environment. It includes concern for racial and economic justice and human rights in the U.S. as well as internationally.
Resources to Assist Congregations to Make the Commitment
Exploring the Commitment to Peacemaking: Study for Sessions—A one-session study designed for use by sessions or other groups as they consider affirming the Commitment to Peacemaking.
Renewing the Commitment to Peacemaking: A Guide for Sessions and Congregations—Sessions and congregations may use this resource to review their peacemaking ministries and decide whether and how to recommit to God’s mission of peacemaking.
Blessed Are the Peacemakers: A Service of Dedication—A service of dedication designed for congregations to use to celebrate the affirmation or reaffirmation of the Commitment to Peacemaking.
Peacemaking 101 – this resource provides insights from staff of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program about the meaning, beauty and complexity of peacemaking.
Bible Studies & Scriptures
What is Peacemaking? – This one-session adult Bible study explores the biblical vision of peace and God’s call to us to be peacemakers.
Biblical Basis for Peacemaking – this Bible Study discusses the Biblical meanings of the term “peace” including shalom, and eirene, and various stories of peace in scripture.