No place like home
Peace & Global Witness Offering supports efforts to accompany Fiji’s environmental migrants
No one spread a mat for Selai.
Born and raised in Vunidogoloa [voo-nē-dō-gō-lōah], a Fijian community that was forced to relocate due to the impact of climate change, Selai [Suh-lī] felt unwelcome in her new home.
“When I walked into the house, I did not find my mat,” she said, referencing the Pacific Islanders’ custom of welcoming family members and honored guests alike to sit at the same level on mats on the floor. “It felt like I don’t belong here.”
Since 2014, the island nation of Fiji has had roughly four such relocations. According to Frances Namoumou [nah-moo-moo], the Ecological Stewardship and Climate Justice program coordinator for the Pacific Conference of Churches, or the PCC, the churches of the Pacific have envisioned worst-case scenarios. Climate change, as well as the catastrophic impact of the cyclone season, contribute to the mounting number of necessary relocations.
The PCC’s call to peacemaking — including addressing the mental health concerns that result from the impact of climate change — is made possible in part by gifts to the Peace & Global Witness Offering.
The Peace & Global Witness Offering is unique in that half of it is directed to peacemaking and global witness efforts at the national church level to address critical issues around the world. Twenty-five percent is retained by congregations just like ours for local peace and reconciliation work, and 25% goes to mid councils for similar ministries on the regional level. Here at (YOUR CONGREGATION) we have used our portion of this Offering to (TELL ABOUT YOUR MINISTRY).
Frances says, “It is our calling both as a people and as Christians to take care of Creation and our impact on this planet. It’s not like peacemaking is some foreign flower that was introduced to us so that we can see the connection between us and the environment. It has always existed in our culture and traditions.”
The Rev. Carl E. Horton, director of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, says that the program is increasingly called to focus on issues of migration and climate change and how the Commitment to Peacemaking can be applied to address the root causes that force people to relocate.
“The Commitment to Peacemaking includes ‘making peace with the earth,’” he said of the popular Presbyterian resource, “and describes that as ‘protecting and restoring God’s Creation through study, advocacy and environmentally mindful stewardship.’”
Frances is grateful for the PCC’s partnership with the PC(USA).
“Thank you,” she said. “If it weren’t for the funding we receive from the PC(USA), we would not be able to support communities like Selai’s and to help sustain a livable world for her family and all future generations.”
Selai may have felt alone, but she is not — the Peace & Global Witness Offering unites as peacemakers with those right here at home, and around the globe.
Please give what you can — when we all do a little, it adds up to a lot.
Let us pray ~
God, maker of all things: You created this world, it belongs to you, and you have entrusted it to our care. May our use of this good gift honor you and serve all your children who call this planet home. Amen.
Please give generously to the Offering:
- Through your congregation
- Text PCUSAPEACE to 41444