“Now may the Lord of peace … give you peace at all times in all ways.” — 2 Thessalonians 3:16
We live in a world that is constantly coming at us. Conflict arises in our families and communities. War is waged between nations and discussed in the marketplace. Instability threatens our jobs, savings or even our homes. Natural disasters strike a new place each week. Sickness, homelessness, starvation, abuse and mental illness plague our world. The list goes on.
In stark contrast to this conflict and brokenness all around us, we turn to hear the prayer of the Apostle Paul: May God grant us “peace at all times in all ways.” Peace in our families, in our work, in our worship, in our communities, in our world and in our minds. That peace is the peace of Christ.
The Peace & Global Witness Offering draws Presbyterians together and provides education and exposure to those who do this work well. It aims to form peacemakers who share and advocate for Christ’s peace in all places and spaces.
This ministry can be seen in action at Druid Hills Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2017, their World Communion Sunday focused on the Middle East and connections between the three Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Islam, and Christianity). This focus inspired the congregation to think about how they nurture reconciliation and stand in support of our global brothers and sisters who seek the peace of Christ.
Through the Peace & Global Witness Offering, their congregation was able to partner with Shalom International Ministry, a PC(USA) new worshiping community which primarily ministers with African refugees, particularly new arrivals to the United States residing in Clarkston, Georgia. Shalom International Ministry is a cross-cultural ministry that seeks to witness to the promise of God’s holistic peace embodied in Jesus Christ. Shalom assists with identifying food, housing, employment and education resources available to refugees and immigrants. Additionally, they provide pastoral and psychological care and help refugees transition as they begin processing past trauma and begin healing. This work is vital to the success of refugees in the U. S. Shalom is instrumental in nurturing the incredible gifts and talents these immigrants have so that they can be assets to the work of the Church in Atlanta and the U.S. By building a sense of community, refugees and immigrants are better supported to flourish in their new home.
The work of teaching, sharing, and empowering peacemaking and reconciliation works best when a diversity of approaches is taken. Twenty-five percent of the Offering will stay with our congregation to support ministries that proclaim Christ’s peace in our community. Another 25 percent joins with those of other congregations in our region to support peacemaking at a presbytery or synod level. And 50 percent supports the work for peace done by Presbyterians everywhere, including the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program.
As Presbyterians, we proclaim that Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace and the model of compassion, kindness and grace for every community and individual in this world.
Let us Pray
O God, we come to you seeking peace and wholeness, not only for ourselves and not only for those we know, but for this world full of nations, communities and individuals burdened with brokenness, conflict and despair. Yet despite this reality, we are inspired by your Spirit to have hope, for you have a plan for this broken world that ends in joy, peace, and wholeness. Open our eyes to see where you are already mending and healing. Inspire us to move toward those places where your peace is present so we might be filled with peace and empowered to share that peace with others, in your name. And may our every act be modeled after the Prince of Peace, our Savior and great Teacher, Jesus Christ. Amen.