To see and to be seen

4199_108473877328_520017328_2744274_8291720_n Can you give a month to stand with our sisters and brothers in Colombia? Consider taking part in the next Colombia Accompaniment training – September 17 to 21, 2009 at Stony Point Center.

The Colombia Accompaniment Program, now in its fifth year, arose from a request by the Presbyterian Church of Colombia (IPC) to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Colombia has suffered four decades of violent internal conflict, which has been exacerbated by an illicit drug trade.

In the midst of this violence, the IPC speaks out against human rights abuses—and for this it faces harassment. Through the program, Presbyterians practice community accompaniment, a ministry of presence with the churches and the displaced communities and human rights leaders with whom they work. Accompaniers provide “international eyes” as witnesses.

The primary goal is solidarity—to “see and be seen,” with the benefit of increasing awareness for accompaniers and, through them, for U.S. churches and the broader society. Accompaniers attend a training/discernment event to prepare for service. They go two by two and spend one month terms with the IPC. Some participants speak no Spanish and have never been involved in Latin America; others have extensive experience in Colombia and special training in trauma counseling, medicine, and other skills. Anyone from the PC(USA) or another church, over 21 years of age, with a valid U.S. passport and a heart for this important ministry is welcome to apply.

For more information about the program or about the training on September 17 to 21, contact Sarah Henken

The PC(USA) has been involved in ministry with the people of Colombia since 1856.

Photo courtesy of Sarah Henken.

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