Visitors to learn about creation care, reconciliation
July 16, 2017
More than 80 percent of its flora and fauna cannot be found anywhere else on Earth. But despite the richness of its biodiversity, Madagascar is one of the poorest nations in the world, with 92 percent of its population living on less than $2 a day.
The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program is hosting a travel study seminar to the island nation Nov. 6–18, giving Presbyterians and other interested groups a chance to see the country up close.
“Madagascar is a place with an incredible intersectionality of faith, politics and biodiversity. Our partner denomination there has a long history of deep and meaningful engagement with social and political issues,” said Carl Horton, coordinator for the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program. “Over the years, we have hosted a number of International Peacemakers from Madagascar who have traveled across the PC(USA) and shared about the church’s work there to address poverty, human exploitation and the threats of climate change.”
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has been working with the Christian Council of Churches in Madagascar (FFKM), Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar (FJKM) and Student Action with Farmworkers (SAF) over the years to address climate and poverty issues.
“We will see a number of aspects of our partner church’s multifaceted ministries, including ways that it is engaged in sharing the good news of God’s love with communities through health care, provision of clean water, agricultural development, educational opportunities, and environmental education and protection,” said Douglas Tilton, regional liaison for Southern Africa with Presbyterian World Mission. “There will be opportunities to talk with church and community leaders about the impact of natural resource exploitation and human trafficking and to learn about the church’s response to these situations.”
Tilton says FJKM has a very active development department with programs in health care and family planning, clean water and sanitation, and environmental protection.
“Working with PC(USA) mission co-worker Dan Turk, SAF has also promoted the development of new types of fruit trees to improve diet and develop new sources of income for families,” Tilton said. “FJKM seminaries are also imparting agricultural skills to theological students and their families, both so that they can better support themselves when serving in remote areas and so that they can share these skills with others in the communities they serve.”
The FJKM’s Chaplaincy to Marginalized People helps street people and sex workers acquire productive skills so they can have sustainable livelihoods and work for justice for vulnerable groups.
In addition, Tilton says much is being done to promote and protect the country’s natural resources.
“FJKM promotes reforestation and environmental education, and often sponsors tree-planting events to mark holidays and special occasions,” Tilton said. “Many FJKM churches and schools are planted with indigenous trees to foster knowledge of and respect for Madagascar’s unique flora. SAF works with communities to promote alternatives to slash-and-burn agriculture that destroys indigenous forests, encouraging respect for the environment and the planting of new crops, such as fruit trees, that can provide families with income in environmentally responsible ways.”
Madagascar is an ethnically diverse nation that experienced roughly 60 years of French colonial rule. After regaining independence in 1960, Madagascar has survived a series of political crises.
“The FJKM, together with other members of the Christian Council of Churches in Madagascar, have sought to facilitate a national reconciliation process to acknowledge past abuses and build national unity,” Tilton said.
For more information about the trip, which includes two travel days and 11 days in the country, visit presbyterianmission.org/ministries/peacemaking/travel_study/madagascar-2017-peacemaking-travel-study.
Rick Jones, Mission Communications Strategist, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Today’s Focus: Presbyterian Peacemaking Program
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Mission Co-Workers
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray:
Dear Lord, please be with those who seek to bring your message of hope and redemption to those in need. Please be with the many who are in dire circumstances. May they realize that you have not forsaken them. Amen.
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, July 16, 2017, the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)