Blessed are the peacemakers

From across the Presbytery of New York City they came to First Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn for the Presbyterian Women's Spring Gathering.

Beatitudesbulletincover The 2011-2012 Horizons Bible Study, Confessing the Beatitudes by the Rev. Dr. Margaret Aymer, provided the theme and focus for the gathering.

Recognizing that peace is a gift of God, participants explored ways in which we can respond as peacemakers.

The 2011-2012 Bible Study was introduced.

Ryan Smith and Mark Koenig talked about the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations and the ways that Presbyterian Women can become involved. They described the efforts of the United Nations to achieve gender justice and equality, particularly through the UN Women and the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). The Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations works with Ecumenical Women to network, educate, and advocate at the CSW.

Annie Rawlings and Sean "Dino" Johnson spoke about the work of Rehabilitation through the Arts (RTA). Founded at Sing Sing in 1996, RTA now works in five New York state prisons, providing innovative programs in theater, dance, creative writing, voice and visual art. RTA uses the creative arts as a tool for transformation behind prison walls. The Web page says "RTA changes lives." Sean Johnson will tell you it saved his.

Annie then talked about Prepare New York is a coalition of New York based interfaith organizations, including Auburn Seminary and its Center for Multifaith Education, Interfaith Center of New York, Intersections International, Odyssey Networks, Quest, and Tanenbaum and its Religion and Diversity Education Program, who have joined together to help create a city-wide climate that promotes healing and reconciliation in anticipation of the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

Rosemary Whaley made a presentation on domestic violence – the dynamics and statistics and ways to address the issues involved. Dana Trexler spoke about the work of Safe Horizon to provide domestic violence shelters.

IMG_1416 During closing worship, the Rev. Dr. Flora Wilson Bridges preached about the ministry of reconciliation God entrusts to us. The participants joined in the song Bind Us Together.

As we departed, we each received a stone from the peace meditation table – with the invitation to use the stone to focus our thoughts and prayers on making peace.


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