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Thursday marks the one-year anniversary of the Parkland, Florida school shooting, which killed 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Very rarely, though, do we stop and think of who these men and women are, let alone the challenges that they face, as they work to bring peace to the most turbulent places around the world. Presbyterians Today takes a look at today’s peacemakers.
Presbyterians interested in learning about conflict and reconciliation, from both an active and historical perspective, have an opportunity to do so by participating in one of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program’s travel study seminar series upcoming in Spring 2019. Reconciliation Work in Rwanda: Healing the Trauma of the Genocide is scheduled for March 11–23, 2019, and Ukraine and Russia: Peacemaking on the Front Line is scheduled for April 22 – May 6, 2019. The due date for applications is November 15 for the Rwanda seminar, and December 15 for the Ukraine-Russia seminar. After those dates, applications will be considered if space remains available.
Princeton Abaraoha was a carefree 13-year-old boy when he was snatched by soldiers and taken to a military training camp. Two weeks later, he was carrying a gun as a soldier in Nigeria’s civil war.
Nearly three-quarters of Haitians live on less than two dollars a day; hunger and poverty are daily challenges, as are political turmoil and violence. Despite these obstacles, Fabienne Jean, coordinator of the Hands Together Foundation of Haiti (FONDAMA), works diligently every day to fight for the most vulnerable of those living in her homeland.
The Rev. Alex E. Awad, a peace and justice advocate and former missionary with the United Methodist Church, will speak to U.S. audiences this fall as part of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program’sInternational Peacemakers initiative. He’s served in Israel/Palestine as an educator and pastor for more than 30 years and will speak about his experiences in the Holy Land, the conditions faced by Palestinians under occupation, the impact of Israeli settlements, and the role of the church in ending the current injustices found in his homeland.
‘All of Rwandan identity and history is divided into pre-genocide and post-genocide,’ said mission co-worker Kay Day during Friday evening vespers at the 2018 New Wilmington Mission Conference at Westminster College.
Founded in 2011, South Sudan is the world’s youngest country. But infighting amongst its two most populous tribal groups — friction which dates back to the 19th century — has plunged the country into civil war and forced many of its young citizens to become soldiers instead of doctors, teachers, or farmers. The Rev. Michael Muot Put, from the Nuer tribal community, is working to educate communities about the importance of peace among different ethnic groups and provide a platform based on peace and unity.
Madagascar, which sits off the southeast coast of Africa, is the fourth largest island in the world. More than 90 percent of its flora and fauna are found nowhere else on Earth, including more than 8,000 plant species. Yet for all its natural resource richness Madagascar is among the world’s least developed countries according to the UN.
Nearly 30,000 refugees live in or near Thessaloniki, a port city in Greece. Manolis Ntamparakis has made it his calling to help them. He is the director of social action for the Naomi Ecumenical Workshop for Refugees, a nonprofit organization founded two years ago.