Ten global peace leaders to speak on being a ‘Matthew 25 church’
by Rick Jones | Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE — In just five months, Presbyterian churches across the U.S. will be hosting the 2018 International Peacemakers. This year, 10 peacemakers are expected to take part in the annual event, sponsored by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program.
“We’ve got guests who come from places that are conflict zones, places where there’s a lot of national media attention right now, hot spots around the world,” said Carl Horton, coordinator of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program. “Countries like South Sudan, Palestine and Syria are among them.”
Horton says he’s connecting this year’s peacemakers with past and upcoming travel study seminars.
“Last year, Presbyterians went to Madagascar and this year we are bringing one of the leaders of the church there to speak,” he said. “As far as upcoming seminars, we are planning a trip to Rwanda next year to look at the reconciliation work that the church has been doing since the genocide in 1994. We are bringing back a previous peacemaker, Jerome Bizimana, who has been doing some very intentional reconciliation work, peacebuilding training and trauma recovery there.”
Horton says the Peacemaking Program is focusing on migration and refugees.
“We are also focusing on countries that have been perhaps mischaracterized in this country where the Presbyterian Church has an active partnership and ministry, such as Haiti and Rwanda,” he said. “We want to provide an opportunity for those stories to be told.”
Horton says the they are also utilizing the PC(USA)’s Matthew 25 Initiative, and have intentionally selected speakers who can help congregations understand what it means to be a Matthew 25 Church.
Peacemakers will be visiting churches, presbyteries and other community forums from September 21 to October 15. Individual community visits generally last three to five days, excluding travel days. Horton says that before and after their itineration, they will gather in Louisville at the Presbyterian Mission Agency for orientation and debriefing.
The 2018 peacemakers are:
- Fabienne Jean, Haiti (accompanied by mission co-worker Cindy Correll)
- Holiniaina (Holly) Rakotondralambo, Madagascar
- Amal Nassar, Palestine (September 21-October 1)
- Alex Awad, Palestine
- Roceni Bakian, Philippines
- Jerome Bizimana, Rwanda
- Michael Muot Put, South Sudan
- Zulema Garcia de Rojas, Venezuela (September 21-October 5)
- Mary Mikhael, Syria
- Representative of the Churches Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME)
Applications for speakers can be found hereand will be accepted through July 1.
“We are encouraging people to get their applications in as early as possible because we are filling schedules as we get the requests,” said Horton. “This year we will be hosting only 10 peacemakers as opposed to 15 last year.”
The annual visits by peacemakers have taken place since 1984. Since that time, more than 300 individuals have taken part in the program from as many as 57 countries and have been hosted by 160 Presbyterian mid councils, colleges and theological institutions. Participants have included pastors, educators and community leaders.
The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program is supported by gifts to the Peace & Global Witness Offering.
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Categories: Peace & Justice
Tags: 2018 international peacemakers, Haiti, madagascar, matthew 25, mission, palestine, pcusa, peacemakers, Philippines, presbyterian, Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, rwanda, south sudan, syria, venezuela
Ministries: Compassion, Peace and Justice, Presbyterian Peacemaking Program