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Matthew 25 is basis for Peacemaker’s work in the Dominican Republic


The Rev. María Bock Barett one of the International Peacemakers coming to the U.S. in September and October

By Rich Copley | Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. María Bock Barett of the Dominican Republic will be one of 14 International Peacemakers visiting the United States this fall through the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program. Photo provided

LOUISVILLE — The Rev. María Bock Barett has a concise answer when asked what she wants to share as one of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program’s 14 International Peacemakers, coming to the United States in September and October.

“I want to share the strategy and methodology that we use in Community Health Evangelism, that seeks to transform lives and communities through the gospel and development with a focus on mutual respect and values,” she says, responding to questions from the Peacemaking Program.

That strategy is summed up in a name and number that are becoming familiar to members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.): Matthew 25.

Barett went on to cite the Scripture in describing how her and her organization’s work has addressed self-empowerment, hunger and the protection of water resources in the Dominican Republic.

Read more about the Matthew 25 invitation to churches and mid councils in the PC(USA)

She began her work as a Sunday school teacher and youth leader in in Villa Duarte, a community in the municipality of East Santo Domingo. Part of her work there was finding scholarships for students who have limited funds, and that produced success stories such as a young woman who benefited from those scholarships and is now serving that church.

Barett went on to pastor a congregation in the Dominican Evangelical Church (IED) for eight years before going to work in the National Social Action Office of the IED.

“In my social action work I coordinate the strategic system called Community Health Evangelism (CHE),” Barett writes. “In addition I advise congregations throughout the country on their social ministries.”

And that is the work Barett will be talking about when she is in the U.S., visiting Scioto Valley Presbytery in Ohio, Presbytery of East Iowa, Grace Presbytery in Texas, and the Presbytery of Charlotte in North Carolina.

Barett says the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has had an influential role in the IED from its founding in the early 20th century. Currently, she credits the Rev. Jo Ella Holman, regional liaison for the Caribbean, for supporting the IED’s work.

“Her dogged, faithful service and dedication has been a source of great encouragement to our denomination,” Barett writes. “She has been an astute advisor on fundraising and has helped us with training and empowerment programs.”

Barett says she is coming to the U.S. at a pivotal time in her country and the world, and that she hopes to learn as well as teach, while she is meeting fellow International Peacemakers in Louisville and traveling around the country.

“I am disturbed and concerned by the violence that is shaking the world and also our country,” Barett writes. “The God-given rights of the hungry to food and well-being are violated.

“We believe that our Lord has called us to be messengers of peace, and that we are called to be instruments for sharing Christ in a convulsed and agitated world because he is Peace.”

The Rev. María Bock Barett’s writing was translated from its original Spanish by PC(USA) mission co-worker Dennis A. Smith, regional liaison for South America.

Read more

Peacemakers will tell churches about Matthew 25 work around the world

Surrounded by hopelessness, her message is one of hope

Peacemaker has helped educate thousands in southern Africa

Peacemaker has been working for racial justice in Europe

Cuban Peacemaker inspires with ‘liberation word’ of the Bible and MLK

She works to bring healing to those around her

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