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Today in the Mission Yearbook

Next Mosaic of Peace conference sure to be impactful based on a history of memorable experiences


The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program is now taking applications for the 2024 conference

September 13, 2023

The Rev. Carl Horton, Coordinator of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, takes part in a project at the L’Arche community in Bethlehem. (Photo courtesy of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program)

From hearing firsthand accounts about the plight of Palestinians to collaborating with a local group that makes textile art, being part of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Mosaic of Peace conference in the Holy Land was a memorable experience for past participant Megan Acedo.

“I really got to meet people who were living out the work of advocacy, the work of justice, the work of loving our neighbor, in ways that were really profound,” said Acedo, an elder and clerk of session of Beacon church in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood. “There were heartbreaking stories, but overall, it was an incredible and transformative experience.”

The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program is now accepting applications for the next Mosaic of Peace conference, which takes place from March 4–15, 2024, in the Israel/Palestine region. People who want to explore more of the Holy Land can opt into a Jordan extension that lasts until March 19.

The conference, which began in 2014, is held every two years (except during the pandemic) and brings together church members and partners, clergy and other interested individuals who desire to explore the rich history of the region and to engage with those who long for peace in the area.

“The Mosaic of Peace conference offers an opportunity for Presbyterians and people of faith to walk in the places where Jesus walked in the Holy Land, bringing Scripture to life in a very real, visceral way,” said Simon Doong, associate for Peacemaking. “It also provides an opportunity for Christians to learn about the ongoing conflict in Israel/Palestine, in the land that is the home to many faiths, including our own.”

The next Mosaic of Peace is set for March 4-15, 2024.

The conference gives participants the opportunity to hear from Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders and to study peacemaking practices within the framework of PC(USA) policy.

“Having been a part of the leadership team for this conference since 2014, I have watched people’s lives be transformed and their understandings of the issues and realities in the Holy Land be expanded,” said the Rev. Carl Horton, coordinator of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program. Participants can “see the sites and settings of so much of our biblical story, but it is also an opportunity to encounter the ‘living stones’ and to hear from the people who call this place home. The historical and present-day realities of life under political, military and economic occupation in this land can inform and impact our faith, shape our perspective of the land and its people and guide us in our efforts for peace with justice.”

Acedo, who was part of the 2022 Mosaic of Peace, recalls visiting the Tent of Nations Farm, which is located in the hills southwest of Bethlehem and owned by a Palestinian Christian family.

An olive tree at the site of the Garden of Gethsemane (Photo courtesy of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program)

“It has slowly been surrounded by Israeli settlements on all of the neighboring five or six hills around it,” Acedo said. “They regularly get eviction notices from the Israeli government, and so in response to all of this, they have started (an international volunteer program). They welcome groups like ours to talk about the importance of land and things like olives and apricots and how important that is in Palestinian culture, and they fed us a lovely meal there.”

Acedo also recalled collaborating with members of the L’Arche community, which brings together intellectually disabled and non-disabled people to make textile art pieces, including doves made from felt, as well as various goods and wares.

“We got to work side-by-side with members of their community,” Acedo said. “I didn’t speak a word of Arabic. … All we had to go on was body language and gestures and things like that, but it was beautiful. It was this connection across culture and language.”

Interested in the upcoming conference? Read the 2024 Mosaic of Peace brochure here.

Read more about the experiences of past conference participants by going to the Swords into Plowshares blog and by listening to “A Matter of Faith: A Presby Podcast” (Episode 102 of Season 1).

The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program is one of the Compassion, Peace and Justice ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Its work is made possible through your gifts to the Peace & Global Witness Offering.

Darla Carter, Communications Strategist, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Today’s Focus: 2024 Mosaic of Peace conference

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Sandy Lucas, Receptionist, Presbyterian Foundation
Kathy Lueckert, President, Administrative Services Group (A Corp)

Let us pray

Almighty God, grant us eyes to see our world as you would have it. And use our hearts, our minds and our hands to bring us one step closer to that world today. Amen.