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The 2016 International Peacemakers are finishing up their visits to U.S. churches, colleges and communities. Seven of the speakers gathered this week at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary to debrief with staff. During its day-long gathering, the group shared their experiences, hopes and recommendations for future meetings.
For five years Westminster Presbyterian Church in Middletown, New Jersey has assembled a memorable display on its Great Lawn each fall. Beginning in 2012, the church’s “Field of Flags” display has contained one American flag for every service member killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.
The Rev. Dr. Laurie Kraus, coordinator for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, offered prayers for those killed and injured in a massive car bombing that rocked the busy Karada market in central Baghdad yesterday. The blast occurred after sundown as young people and families filled the streets, breaking their daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan.
While state and national government leaders debate on the acceptance of refugee families, Weisiger says it didn’t take long for her church and five others to begin work to resettle families in their community. Community connections were made as a result of peacemaker visits that have enabled the church to continue engaging in the work of peacemaking in their own backyard. The Peacemaking Program connected the church not just to the wider church, but to refugee resettlement agencies and interfaith organizations engaged in peacemaking in the heart of Philadelphia.