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Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations unveils new educational resource guide

Document highlights how the church addresses UN Sustainable Development Goals

by Rick Jones | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — Presbyterian churches now have a new tool to energize and educate congregations around global issues such as poverty alleviation and climate change. The Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations (PMUN) has produced a new Educational Resource Guide that highlights what the PC(USA) and its global church partners are doing to address the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The 17 goals were set by world leaders in 2015 to cover social and economic development issues such as global warming, energy, social justice, poverty and hunger. The UN says the goals are “broad and interdependent,” but contain a list of targets to achieve.

Ryan Smith, PMUN director, says the guide takes each of the 17 goals and looks at the way the church is working to achieve them, including Biblical resources.

“Congregations or individuals can take three or four goals and prepare a Sunday School curriculum and talk about the ways the church is working to achieve those goals,” said Smith. “This also includes Bible reflection if they want to take it and do some personal study and growth, they can do that as well.”

Sue Rheem, PMUN’s mission specialist for international advocacy, says this is the first time the UN ministry has offered a guide like this.

“If people are interested in global issues or problems facing our world such as climate change and sustainability, which we all are, this is a resource where you can find out what is being done about it,” said Rheem. “We hope Presbyterians will feel empowered to take action and feel good about what the church has been doing.”

The Sustainable Development Goals were developed by UN member states in consultation with a number of organizations including faith-based groups such as the PC(USA). Smith and Rheem have already discussed the goals and the church’s plans with church advocates.

“We hosted a workshop during CPJ Days in Washington, DC last spring and attendees were really excited and felt good about what church is doing about these issues and they wanted a resource they could share with other churches,” said Rheem. “A woman from Alaska told us how climate change is a great concern in her state and was glad the church was doing something.”

Smith says he hopes the Educational Resource Guide will provide the necessary tools for congregations to connect with the global community.

“It takes a lot of the issues that people care about in the world and pulls them together in one package to show what the church is doing to engage in these topics,” said Smith. “You may discover that the church is working on issues you didn’t even know about.”

Simon Doong, who recently completed his yearlong commitment as a Young Adult Volunteer with PMUN, worked with Smith and Rheem to pull the guide together.

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