International Peacemakers visit PC (USA) churches to speak on work for peace and justice
December 28, 2016
International Peacemakers from partner churches around the world are traveling to churches throughout the U.S. as part of the Presbyterian Peacemaking program.
Video URL: https://vimeo.com/185421687
Veronica Murchiri, organizer and secretary of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) National Woman’s Guild, has been talking with congregations about what women in Kenya have done to address areas of conflict in the country.
“We’ve organized visits with women from different ethnic groups, from warring and non-warring communities, so that we can talk among ourselves and ask why we are fighting,” says Murchiri. “As we look at the issue, we agree we are not going to fight anymore.”
The women then talk to the men who are fighting, telling them, “We don’t want you to fight anymore. When you fight we, and our children suffer. We want to live peacefully with each other.”
The PCEA National Women’s Guild is also teaching women about Christian-Muslim relationships so that they better understand one another, as a way to reduce conflict around religion.
“I’m hopeful that as we continue with this work we can bring about peace,” says Murchiri.
Meanwhile, Areej Murad Masoud, the marketing development director at Bethlehem Bible College, is grateful to be speaking to people in U.S. churches who “maybe don’t have the opportunity to see what is going on in Palestine with the occupation.”
“Living under occupation isn’t easy, it’s not normal,” she says. “It’s causing the Palestinians to see God as a God who takes sides,” she says. “As a God who doesn’t care for us, who allows us to be suppressed, but God is not like that.”
Areej reminds congregations that the true God, Christ on earth was always with the oppressed and marginalized, and then asks them to be conformed to Christ’s image and Christ-like by “not forgetting Palestinians who are oppressed, and to be with us.”
Dora Kanizsai-Nagy, who served as director of Refugee of Ministry for the Reformed Church of Hungary, says she has been refreshed by Presbyterians’ welcome and support during her time here. In 2014, she co-founded the Kalunba Social Services Association, an NGO that now actively serves the thousands of refugees who found themselves stranded in Budapest a year ago.
“It’s so clear to me that I have to be involved in helping refugees,” she says. “Not just because it’s how I understand the Bible, but because of my personal background, in which many of my family escaped Hungary when it was closed up.”
Kanizsai-Nagy says it has been “a tiring, exhausting time” in Hungary, but every day they see good. As people learn more Hungarian and better understand their new country, they feel more comfortable, with “less weight on their shoulders.”
“Last summer when we had the crisis, we received mail packages with notes of kindness from PC(USA) students,” she says. “These things mean so much, reminding us in difficult times that we are together.”
Dianet De La Carida Martinez Valdes is chairperson of the Student Christian Movement of Cuba, and a student at the Evangelical Seminary of Theology in Matanzas. She relishes the opportunity of being here now, at a time when U.S.-Cuba relations are thawing.
“Our two countries are finding themselves in a new moment in our relationship,” she says. “It’s important for the church in the U.S. to know more about Cuba, and vice versa.”
“We can all use our small powers to contribute to a better understanding of our countries.”
Paul Seebeck, Mission Communications Strategist, Video and Digital Asset Management
Today’s Focus: International Peacemakers
Let us join in prayer for:
PC (USA) Mission Co-workers
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Dear God, blessed are those who add to the harmony of your world and encourage others to do the same. Thank you for drawing us into the circle of your love. Amen.