PC(USA)’s Peace & Global Witness Offering supports peacemaking and reconciliation
March 26, 2021
War, disease and imprisonment: These words have the power to fill the heart with pain, fear and hopelessness. They often make the lips of those witnessing such strife ask, “Surely, this is not where God lives?”
Presbyterians working for peace and justice would beg to differ though, saying that it’s exactly in such strife where God’s love should shine the brightest. And through their gifts to the Peace & Global Witness Offering — which congregations traditionally collect on World Communion Sunday, the first Sunday in October — they are supporting peacemaking initiatives that ease pain through action, provide comfort in the face of fear and show love to the hopeless.
Every gift to the Peace & Global Witness Offering enables the Church to promote the peace of Christ by addressing systems of conflict and injustice worldwide. Out of the money collected, individual congregations are encouraged to use 25% of the offering to connect with the global witness of Christ’s peace. Mid councils retain an additional 25% for ministries of peace and reconciliation. The remaining 50% is used by the Presbyterian Mission Agency to advocate for peace and justice through collaborative projects of education and Christian witness.
Jaff Bamenjo, an international peacemaker for the Presbyterian Mission Agency, knows just how important gifts to the Peace & Global Witness Offering are. As a coordinator of RELUFA (Reseau de Lutte contre la Faim), the Network for the Fight Against Hunger, in Cameroon, Bamenjo has worked for more than a decade addressing hunger in the poor and densely populated northern region of his home country.
With gifts made to the Peace & Global Witness Offering, Bamenjo was able to travel last year to the United States to share the joys and sorrows of the people of Cameroon while also sharing what the most critical needs are.
More than 3,000 miles south of Cameroon, Presbyterians are tackling another need — helping vulnerable populations understand how HIV and AIDS spread, and how to cope with the effects of each.
“This is an issue that has been pushed under the rug for many reasons, including stigma and discrimination, and it’s becoming forgotten because people are living with it rather than dying from it,” said Phyllis Wezeman.
Wezeman is a member of First Presbyterian Church of South Bend, Indiana, and president of the board of directors for Malawi Matters, a nonprofit that has not shied away from talking about HIV and AIDS. The organization develops and facilitates HIV and AIDS education with the people of Malawi to alleviate misinformation and create understanding among those living with the disease.
Malawi Matters is 100% volunteer driven, with volunteers traveling to Malawi to serve as facilitators on teaching teams. Beyond teaching teams, Presbyterians support the nonprofit with monetary gifts to the Peace & Global Witness Offering, as well as by supplying pens, pencils and other items for the educational classes.
For the Rev. Lane Brubaker, it does not matter that she must go through five locked doors to get to her congregation. “The women I have the opportunity and the privilege to pastor are wonderful and deeply knowledgeable about the Bible,” she said. “They are learning that they are still indeed loved by God and are not defined by their worst mistakes. But rather, they are defined by their Beloved.”
Brubaker leads Hagar’s Community Church, which operates within the Washington Corrections Center for Women. The Presbytery of Olympia worked over several years with Prison Congregations of America to set up the prison ministry. It was finally established in January 2019.
The ministry is supported by congregations like Skyline Presbyterian Church in Tacoma, Washington, which used its 25% portion of the Peace & Global Witness Offering to fund Hagar’s Community Church. Skyline Presbyterian’s pastor, the Rev. Robyn Hogue, saw an opportunity not only to provide for a new ministry, but also to expand the congregation’s vision of what its gifts can make possible. As a result, Skyline Presbyterian has seen its Peace & Global Witness Offering grow.
“I think there’s a lot of room for more worshiping communities like this to be established,” said Brubaker.
Bryce Wiebe, Director, Special Offerings, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Today’s Focus: Peace & Global Witness Offering
Let us join in prayer for:
Let us pray:
O Lord, help us to see the light and gifts of others. Teach us as we teach your word and love. Place your strong hands upon us and lead us into a life of compassion and service. Amen.