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 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.
New perspectives to peacemaking
In January 2015, while many people were resolving to lose weight or limit their vices, Sarah Schoper’s New Year’s resolution was to get better. She had just experienced a pulmonary embolism resulting in two strokes, two seizures and a cardiac arrest, all in the matter of 48 hours. In the following weeks, she learned how to walk again and regained use of her left arm and hand, thanks to her rehabilitation treatments.
In 2018, three years into her healing journey, Sarah found herself at a meeting of the Service & Justice Committee at First Presbyterian Church of Macomb, Illinois. As the committee discussed how to use their retained portion of the Peace & Global Witness Offering, she drew on her experiences and suggested the hospital’s indigent care fund as a choice that could bring peace to many.
“Throughout my time there, I have witnessed the needs of the community from a perspective I would not have witnessed without my own rehabilitation needs. What I’ve witnessed has helped me to more deeply understand the health-care challenges our country faces in a way that is real and that challenges the arguments against health care as a basic human right.”
Sheila Nollen, chair of the committee, noted that this was a different angle on peacemaking for the congregation, but she celebrated the chance to make the Offering more relatable. Overwhelming medical expenses are familiar to many. The indigent care fund is used to provide services and supplies for those who have inadequate insurance or resources to cover the expenses.
“Now that I find myself continually dealing with health challenges, I understand how deeply stressful it can be to be unable to take care of one’s self, physically or mentally. Furthermore, when one is unable to provide for one’s self or family, it imposes a negative self-image and creates a cycle of dependency,” Sarah says.
The fund allows patients to appeal for support to meet their needs, a system that promotes self-advocacy and responsibility. Sarah sees this as part of the benefit, remarking, “I believe that by contributing to the indigent care fund, we are restoring, discreetly, some agency for those needing support. … It is helping to bring peace and witness to individuals within our more local community, which eventually has a global ripple effect.”
Sharing Christ’s peace
Teaching, sharing and empowering peacemaking and reconciliation works best when a diversity of approaches is taken. Twenty-five percent of the Offering stays with congregations to do this work while another 25% joins with the gifts of other congregations in your region to support peacemaking at a presbytery or synod level. And 50% supports the work for peace and reconciliation done by the Presbyterian Mission Agency.
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: Ministers of reconciliation and bearers of peace. 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