Peace at all times in all ways
Peacemaking is something that happens among leaders of countries warring over issues, rights, and land. Certainly, this is true, but it is also true that peace is made by many others — even you and me! Conflict arises in our families and communities. Instability threatens our livelihoods. Even our safest places can be permeated by examples of violence and brokenness.
In stark contrast to the brokenness all around us are the words of the Apostle Paul: May God grant us “peace at all times in all ways.” Peace in our families, in our work, 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, providing education and exposure for those doing active peacemaking, here in our neighborhoods, and in places all over the world. It aims to form peacemakers who advocate for Christ’s peace in all times and all ways, even when we least expect it.
From Texas to Iraq
A couple of years ago, encouraged by a perfectly timed post on social media, First Presbyterian Church in Bonham, Texas, volunteered to pray for the city of Al-Kūt, Iraq, joining other congregations in an effort of the Iraq Partnership Network to pray for every city in Iraq.
Mission Elder Jane Gehalo states, “Each Sunday when the church prays for their joys and concerns during worship, we also pray for the people in the town of Al-Kūt, that they be lifted up to the care of God. … We may not always know how, but we have to trust that God is working throughout Iraq.”
Then last year, wishing to expand their ministry, the women of First Presbyterian Church began knitting Peace Pals, yarn dolls that can be gifted to children living in orphanages or refugee camps. Considering they already had a relationship to the country through prayer, they decided to send their Peace Pals to Iraq. They connected with PC(USA) mission co-workers Elmarie and Scott Parker to learn how they could make this happen.
Providing a safe space
The Parkers have been serving in the Middle East since 2013. Part of their ministry includes a play-based program that uses art, music, drama and even puppets to develop emotional and spiritual resiliency refugee children. Incorporating teachings about the love of Jesus, the program seeks to create a safe place for these vulnerable children to begin to identify, express and process the difficult emotions they have collected by living through war during their formative years.
“We often have kids who say something like, ‘This is the only time of the week I am happy,’” said Scott. “This is a hard thing to hear but it is also why we are here. We are able to give the kids a couple of hours a week where they can be kids and have a safe space, and it’s making an impact.”
When it came time to decide how to use their retained portion of the Peace & Global Witness Offering, the Mission Committee of First Presbyterian Church saw the PC(USA)’s play-based ministry in the Middle East as an important one and a chance to continue their ministry in Iraq and the surrounding countries. Through prayer, their Peace Pals and the Special Offerings, this congregation commits to promoting the peace of Christ at all times, in all ways.
Sharing Christ’s peace
Teaching, sharing and empowering peacemaking and reconciliation works best when a diversity of approaches is taken. Congregations retain 25% of the Peace & Global Witness Offering for this work. Another 25% joins with the gifts of others in your presbytery and synod to support peacemaking regionally. And 50% 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
God of all people, call us back to who you created us to be. Invite us into your ministry of reconciliation, and inspire us to be peacemakers in every part of our lives. Amen.
For more information and resources related to the Peace & Global Witness Offering, visit presbyterianmission.org/peace-global.
This post is based on a regional Minute for Mission which can be found on our website as a script.
Please give generously to the Offering:
- Through your congregation
- Text PEACE to 20222 to give $10
- Donate online