Malawi: Peacemaking and HIV/AIDS

Coffee_hour_at_matiki_2 “I wondered, what does peacemaking have to do with HIV/AIDS,” said the Rev. Kondwani Gondwe at the English language service on Sunday, March 2 at the Matiki Presbyterian Church.

He took off the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program pin that he had received at dinner the night before and fingered it as he spoke. “And I realized that where there is sickness and where there is suffering, there can be no peace.”

The travel/study seminar participants joined some forty members of the congregation for the 7:30 AM service. Church leaders made sure that travelers and church members sat together, sharing hymnals and joyfully singing together. A choir provided additional special music. The Rev. Janet Guyer, PC(USA) Regional AIDS Consultant for Southern Africa, preached, presenting five commandments for the church living in a time of HIV/AIDS. Bob Schminkey brought greetings on behalf of the group and shared some small gifts with the congregation.

At the close of the service, those who were leading worship formed a line outside the church building. The first worshiper through the door spoke to the Rev. Gondwe, the Rev. Guyer, and the other worship leaders. Then that person took a place at the end of the line. One by one, the worshipers filed by, shaking hands and sharing good wishes. One by one, each worshiper took a place at the line’s end so that everyone had the opportunity to greet one another in the name of Christ who binds us together.

Photo of coffee hour by Joy Gaska.

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