How we can make a difference

Reprinted with permission from The Messenger of Catonsville Presbyterian Church with slight editorial changes in relation to photos that appeared in the original article

“Children are children, not soldiers!”

“I liked the UN tour, especially seeing the conference rooms, where the action really happens.”

“I was amazed by the impact that an advocate can have in influencing policy decisions.”

“The Red Cup program impressed me the most because it accomplished three purposes at once: feeding people, providing education, and promoting gender equality.”

These were some of the reflections from the group that traveled to the United Nations on Friday, October 18.  Six teens and six adults drove up to New York City for a day-long seminar which began with an introduction to the Presbyterian ministry and presence at the UN, and was followed by a tour of the UN itself where we learned more about its structure, how it operates, and some of the many specialized agencies and programs it sponsors and supports.  Our day continued with two sessions about current issues – child soldiers and human trafficking.  After hearing about the pain and suffering and human cost, it was inspiring for us to learn how we can make a difference in those particular justice issues.

As part of our Reformed heritage, we take seriously the responsibility of people of faith to be engaged with our government and active in the public arena. The Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations is our church’s shared witness and we were so proud to know of the work that is done both at the UN and in presbyteries and congregations throughout the country. 

Catonsville Presbyterian Group with Red HandsThe picture shows us holding up our small contribution to the Red Hand ministry.  These individual handprints and messages are sent to the officials of countries that have not yet ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict.

We are grateful to Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations Staff Person, the Rev. Mark Koenig, who led our group, and to Ellen and Nelsen Tharp who designated a gift to the church to be used to fund youth trips to the UN. We look forward to sharing more about this experience with you, to deepening our awareness of justice issues, and to working for change in the name of Jesus Christ.

If you’d like to learn more about the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, please visit them at the web page.

Dorothy Boulton & the participants on the 2013 trip:  Donna & Ryan Bucher: Evan Comisac, Cheryl, Mike, Abigail & Michael Santoni, Deb & Jade Shumaker, Bosung Titanji

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