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Newly commissioned, international peacemakers ready to share their stories


About 50 presbyteries will be visited by one of a dozen peacemakers

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

International peacemakers, translators, Peacemaking Program staff and worshipers applaud after 10 of 12 peacemakers were commissioned Wednesday in the Chapel at the Presbyterian Center. (Photo by Rich Copley)

LOUISVILLE — Ten of 12 international peacemakers commissioned Wednesday are set to fan out over about 50 presbyteries in the coming four weeks, sharing the work and witness they’re doing to promote peace and justice.

The Rev. Izett Samá Hernández of Cuba was awaiting a visa and could not be present during Wednesday’s commission, held during worship at the Chapel of the Presbyterian Center.  Muna Nassar, a Palestinian based in Bethlehem, was dealing with a work emergency and was expected to arrive in the U.S. shortly.

The 10 peacemakers commissioned Wednesday were Jaff Bamenjo of Cameroon, Erlinda Maria Quesada Angulo of Costa Rica, the Rev. María Bock Barett of the Dominican Republic, Monique Misenga of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Rev. Arlington Trotman of the United Kingdom, the Rev. Thang Van Lian of Myanmar, Anastasiia Rozykova of Russia, the Rev. Moon-Sook Lee of South Korea, Lucy Awate Dabi of South Sudan and Lydia Neshangwe of Zimbabwe.

International peacemakers the Rev. Moon-Sook Lee of South Korea and Lucy Awate Dabi of South Sudan share a light moment during Wednesday worship. (Photo by Rich Copley)

According to the Rev. Carl Horton, coordinator of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, this year’s peacemakers were selected in part to tell stories on how they, too, are working on focus areas of the Matthew 25 invitation. They’ll be telling stories of ministry in their respective countries in six areas: hunger; clean water and environmental justice; immigration, migration and welcome; poverty alleviation; health and wellness; and racism, systems of oppression and violence. Each peacemaker is being sent, Horton said, to “help our congregations become Matthew 25 partners.”

The fact that Wednesday’s commissioning service occurred on the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks did not go unnoticed by those being commissioned, who helped lead the service.

The Rev. Arlington Trotman of the United Kingdom smiles while singing a hymn during worship Wednesday in the Chapel at the Presbyterian Center. (Photo by Tammy Warren)

“We grieve for those who perished that day,” Trotman said during a time of prayer. “We hope for a world where terror and violence are no more, where peace prevails.”

Neshangwe prayed for “stillness, justice and peace to come — and to last. We fear that they will not.”

With mission co-worker Mark Hare as her translator, Barett charged her fellow peacemakers and the rest of the congregation to “go out into the world and make peace,” cautioning that “peace is active, not passive; doing, not waiting.”

International peacemakers, including Anastasiia Rozykova of Russia, sing a hymn during Wednesday’s commissioning service in the Chapel at the Presbyterian Center. (Photo by Rich Copley)

She concluded the service with this traditional benediction: “Go out into the world in peace. Have courage! Hold fast to what is good. Return no one evil for evil. Strengthen the faint-hearted, support the weak, help the suffering. Honor all people. Love and serve the Lord your God, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.”

This year’s International Peacemakers begin their stays with congregations and mid councils Friday and conclude their visits on Oct. 7, when they’ll return to Louisville for de-briefing before returning home.

The International Peacemaker Program is made possible by your gifts to the Peace & Global Witness Offering. Subscribe to the Path of Peace daily reflections, a daily email containing themes that are connected to A Season of Peace leading up to the Peace & Global Witness Offering. Or, download the full set of reflections.

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