Every day we hear about the different crises around the world. Along the southern US border, hundreds of children are taking unfathomable risks by journeying—often alone—to reach our border. Central American families fear for their lives and the safety of their children, as many are targets of gang recruitment, violence, or both. Presbyterians are working with congregations along the border as they minister to the needs of these children and families. We are also collaborating with ecumenical and interfaith partners who have experience in working with refugees and immigrants and who are also responding to the growing crisis.
In South Sudan, violence levels are so extreme that many peace advocates have questioned whether working in the area is worth the effort. According to Nancy and Shelvis Smith-Mather, mission coworkers operating alongside RECONCILE Peace Institute (RPI), the hopelessness people feel in South Sudan is exactly why it is important to be there. “This is not the end of the story,” Shelvis says. “There is a chance for change.” RPI trains leaders to become peace builders in their communities. Since 2009 it has contributed to the healing process in areas experiencing severe violence. “It’s a country that has suffered great loss, hurt, and oppression,” Shelvis says, “but to see such faith in the midst of such pain is inspiring.”
In the Holy Land, the problems are complex—contested borders, occupation, blockades, security concerns, failed negotiations, terrorism, and refugees. We live in a critical time, as we are given the opportunity to heed the call for justice and peace. As Presbyterians, we will continue to engage in nonviolent actions to help bring about reconciliation.
God calls us to embrace nonviolence as our fundamental response to the challenges of violence, terror, and war; and to identify, explore, and nurture new approaches to active peacemaking. Your gift to the Peace & Global Witness Offering will help strengthen peacebuilding efforts around the world and bring witness through Jesus Christ in troubled places like Central America, South Sudan, and even the Holy Land. Please give generously.
Let us pray
Creator of peace, heal the conflicts that divide us, and bring us back into that unity of love that reflects your nature, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.