by W. Mark Koenig
Presbyterians have engaged in peacemaking ever since there
have been Presbyterians. But in 1980, the 192nd General Assembly
of the United Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) adopted a document
that established the groundwork for the Presbyterian Peacemaking
Program, now lodged in the Congregational Ministries Division
of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). 2005 will mark the 25th
anniversary of this endeavor.
Presbyterian Women takes pride in its role in the creation
of the PC(USA)'s Peacemaking Program. In 1979, United Presbyterian
Women declared peacemaking to be a mandate for their next triennium
and joined the 191st General Assembly in endorsing the memorable
statement "Choose Life," produced by a group of church
representatives from the U.S.S.R. and the United States.
While circumstances have changed since 1980, God's call to
be peacemakers resounds and our world remains in need of peace.
Twenty-five years after the adoption of Peacemaking: The Believers'
Calling, the need persists for "Christians to move, and
urge the nation to move, to consideration of justice, freedom
and compassionate order."
The 25th anniversary of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program
represents a moment to look back and to look forward---to remember
and celebrate peacemaking ministries across the church, and also
to dream about and identify new opportunities for ministry.
Now is the time to plan celebrations of congregational peacemaking
ministries in conjunction with the Peacemaking Program's 25th
--Affirm (or reaffirm) the Commitment to Peacemaking
--Honor peacemakers in your congregation
--Highlight peacemaking ministries in your congregation, presbytery
--Envision future peacemaking ministries for your congregation
--Weave peacemaking stories and themes into worship services
--Initiate an interfaith dialogue
--Organize special events, such as a potluck or a peacemaking
The Peacemaking Program is creating resources to assist congregations
in this 25th anniversary celebration. Many resources are available
online at www.pcusa.org/peacemaking. In addition, the Peacemaking
Program will offer a number of special events in conjunction
with this celebration. The intergenerational 2004 Presbyterian
Peace and Justice Conference (August 3-7, in Tacoma, Washington)
involves a partnership with the Presbyterian Hunger Program,
the Presbyterian Environmental Justice Program and Self-Development
of People. Plans for 2005 include an intergenerational conference
in the United States and possible event in Bethlehem. To learn
more about these events and other plans for this anniversary,
Peacemaking: The Believers' Calling closes with the
statement, "God redeems history; we do not. We must act
as consistently with that redemption as our light and our power
permit." Through the years, by God's grace, Presbyterians
have done so. May God guide us through the next 25 years and
beyond as we continue to respond to God's call to be peacemakers.
W. Mark Koenig is the associate for resources and publications,
Peacemaking Program, PC(USA).
Learn more about the 25th anniversary
of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program. Watch for the summer
2004 issue of Ideas! For Church Leaders, a publication
of Congregational Ministries Division, PC(USA). Printed copies
are distributed to all PC(USA) congregations. The e-zine (online)
version of Ideas! features all the material from the printed
version, along with additional material and resources that are
available only through the Web site, www.pcusa.org/ideas. To
learn more call, 888/728-7228, ext. 5042, or email email@example.com.
New Resources No Peacemaker Should Be Without
Just Peacemaking Study
A six-session study of Just Peacemaking and the Call for International
Intervention for Humanitarian Rescue, a statement adopted by
the 210th General Assembly (1998), is now available. Each session
includes Bible study, prayers, hymns and questions for learning
and dialogue. The sessions are designed for use on Sunday mornings,
but are easily adapted for a workshop or retreat experience.
The resource costs $4.95, plus shipping and handling.
Interfaith Listening Pilot Project---The Video
During a two-week period in September 2002, 18 Christians
and Muslims from 10 countries met and shared conversation in
more than 100 locations throughout the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
This video tells that story, providing examples of
Christian-Muslim dialogue that may inspire congregations and
presbyteries to begin, continue or expand interfaith relationships.
The video costs $9.95
plus shipping and handling.
Steps Along the Way: Living as Peacemakers in a Violent
This study explores issues of violence and the steps that
peacemakers might take in responding to violence. Written for
use in a variety of settings, such as in a retreat or class,
this study may also be used as an outline for a sermon series,
or as a guide for personal reflection or devotion.
The resource costs $3.
Iraq and Beyond
The United States-led war against Iraq, the process leading
up to it and the consequences of it present the PC(USA) and its
members with serious issues that require reflection, theological
debate and prayerful discussion. To encourage understanding and
provide information, the Advisory Committee for Social Witness
Policy (ACSWP) created "Iraq and Beyond"-a study document
intended to stimulate conversation on issues of importance to
the church and nation.
Order all of the Peacemaking resources recommended here from
Presbyterian Distribution Service (PDS). Call 800/524-2612 or
Just Bookmark It!
Information, downloadable resources, ideas for networking with
other Presbyterian peacemakers and the latest news from the Presbyterian
Your connection to Capitol Hill---this site provides contact
information for elected officials, sample letters about issues
of importance to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), action alerts
regarding current legislation, links, resources and much more
News, resources, worship ideas and more from the Presbyterian
United Nations Office that can help Presbyterians put their faith
into action in the global arena
The home for the Young Adult Network of the Presbyterian Peacemaking
Program---intended to connect Presbyterians between the ages
of 19 and 35, offer access to programs and resources at the Presbyterian
United Nations Office and affirms young adults' commitment to
bring peace and justice for all God's creation
A Web-based resource providing spiritual nurture for peacemakers-including
prayers, links, daily lectionary readings and a Bible study model
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