The Witness of the Church in Madagascar

Forgiveness means liberation.

Forgiveness means restitution and repairing.

Forgiveness means reconciliation.

The Rev. Hubert Rakotoarivony, International Peacemaker from Madagascar, reflected on the importance of forgiveness as he spoke to a group of 18 people from 9 congregations.

Hubert Rakotoarivony speaking to groupHubert, along with Dan Turk, PC(USA) mission co-worker in Madagascar, addressed the witness of the church in Madagascar.

Hubert spoke of the work toward peacemaking and reconciliation of the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar (FJKM). This begins with an awareness that peace is not just the absence of war or conflict. Peace is active. Peace involves social justice, equity, dignity, non-discrimination, and respect. The church offers training in reconciliation, recognizing that it is only by the grace of Go that transformation can occur. Hubert reminded his listeners that it is easy for him to talk about this work around a table in the Presbytery of New York City‘s office. It is not so easy to do so in Madagascar. Yet doing so is God’s calling to the FJKM, and the church seeks to be obedient as it responds in faith and works for peace and justice.

Dan shared about the FJKM’s ministries that address poverty. These include significant efforts to provide clean drinking water. A variety of models are used to address this need. The church is working to reduce malaria and for the prevention of HIV/AIDS. The FJKM has a focus on growing fruit trees as a way of moving from poverty. A number of steps are involved from identifying appropriate trees to providing support to growers.

A special project of the FJKM involves building a boarding house for girls going to secondary school in Antananarivo. This will allow them a safe place to live as they pursue the education that will help lead them from poverty. Presbyterian Women are helping fund this house through a grant from the Thank Offering.

Hubert and Dan reflected on the political challenges in Madagascar.
They also provided an overview of a church that is alive and faithful and engaged in a profound witness in the name of Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God.

The visit of Hubert and Dan was made possible through a partnership between the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, Presbyterian World Mission, the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, the Synod of the Northeast, and the Council on Witness to Society and the World of the Presbytery of New York City. We look forward to future opportnunites for partnership.

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