For 23 years at about this time each year, the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program is host to a dozen or so leaders from our partner churches who come and share their stories. These International Peacemakers itinerate through our presbyteries, synods, Presbyterian colleges, and theological institutions, sharing experiences as peacemakers in their own countries. There may be someone in your area now.
Rev. Peter Tibi serves as executive director of RECONCILE, an ecumenical Christian organization that provides training in peacebuilding in South Sudan. RECONCILE’s work has been especially important in the interethnic conflict between the Murle and Nuer peoples, where attacks and counterattacks became commonplace.
In a context of intense conflict, RECONCILE organized two peace and trust building meetings, bringing together Murle and Nuer women. In the meetings, the women took part in testimony, confession, singing, and prayer. “We dehumanize other tribes and cultures, call each other names, steal each other’s animals and each other’s children,” confessed meeting facilitator Violette Mwenedata. “To bring peace to our country and our families, we must learn to love our children more than we hate each other. We must sit together and come up with solutions.” They did just that, even placing their babies in each other’s arms as a visible sign of the peace to be engendered between their tribes.
As we gather at a worldwide table today alongside the Murle and Nuer peoples, let us do so as peacemakers. Both the International Peacemakers and The Red Hand Campaign are supported by your generous contributions to the Peacemaking Offering.
- Rev. Carl E. Horton, Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, Presbyterian Mission Agency