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Today in the Mission Yearbook

Minute for Mission: International Day of Peace

 

September 21, 2022

Today is the International Day of Peace, also known as “Peace Day.” For the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), every day should be Peace Day, but this is a special day, set aside by a unanimous U.N. resolution in 1981 and observed around the world. It provides “a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to peace above all differences and to contribute to building a culture of peace.”

It is interesting that the U.N.’s International Day of Peace and the PC(USA)’s Peacemaking Program are about the same age. It was in the early ’80s that the Commitment to Peacemaking, “Peacemaking Congregations,” and the Peacemaking Offering (now the Peace and Global Witness Offering) were begun among Presbyterians. It was a time when both the international community and the church community sensed a need to focus on peace as a priority.

This year, after an extended pandemic pause, we are welcoming seven International Peacemakers to the PC(USA). They come from Cameroon, El Salvador, Israel/Palestine, Madagascar, Malawi, Rwanda and Tuvalu. As you read this, they are itinerating to mid councils and educational institutions who have offered to host them for a portion of their visits. They are staying in homes, speaking in congregations, and visiting schools, civic organizations and elected leaders. They are being interviewed by local news organizations and meeting with clergy groups. They are sharing stories of the global church’s response and action in contexts of conflict and war, injustice and oppression, natural and human-caused disaster, poverty and climate change. They are bearing witness to the challenges faced and the hopes forged by our siblings in Christ. We can learn from them.

It is as clear on this International Day of Peace as it was back in 1981 that our international and church communities must remain steadfast in our work and witness for the “culture of peace” that we seek. Thankfully, we have a continuing and strong presence at the United Nations through our Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations. Our congregations and mid councils remain engaged in peace work and witness at the local and regional levels. The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program continues to provide opportunities and resources for the whole church. This year in addition to hosting International Peacemakers, we are providing Season of Peace resources, offering the Mosaic of Peace Conference in November and planning three new domestic and international Travel Study Seminars for 2023. We have also produced a new Companion Guide to the Commitment to Peacemaking that guides congregations on a yearlong process to focus their peacemaking witness on one of five focus areas: racism, poverty, violence, immigration/migration and climate change. There are new resources available to congregations for Confronting Militarism and considering Becoming a Peace Church.

There is plenty to do on this International Day of Peace. 

Carl Horton serves as coordinator of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program in the Compassion, Peace & Justice ministry area of the Presbyterian Mission Agency in Louisville.

Today’s Focus: International Day of Peace

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Sarah Foreman, Associate Operations Director, Presbyterian Publishing Corporation
Valdir Franca, Coordinator, Latin America & the Caribbean Office, World Mission, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Let us pray

God of Peace, your world is well-acquainted with the pain of violence, the misery of poverty, the curse of racism, the brokenness of enmity and the destruction of Creation. Place us in the midst of these, make us your instruments and guide us in the way of peace. Amen.