What does the word Peace mean to you? What comes to mind, what image do you have? Maybe a trickling brook, a trail in a pine forest, ocean waves crashing on the beach, a quiet sunny afternoon…
And what does a world, a country, a city without peace mean? Guns and violence? Bombs and rubble? Tragedy and devastation?
Do you think of the people who are enduring the reality of what it means to live in an environment without peace? Do you think of the families racing out of harms way, fleeing their countries, climbing into boats or buses, walking hundreds of miles in Europe or Central America to find safety, or staying close to home to avoid gun violence but still finding it in their back yard, schools, streets, nightclubs?
Do you think of the countless thousands who are in shock and loss because of fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods…..losing all possessions, homes, and the life they knew? Do you think of all those people who need our help, our love and support, our understanding and empathy?
The PC(USA) Peace and Global Witness Offering is a way to show those who live without peace that we care, that we think of them. Through peacemaking efforts, advocacy, and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, we as Presbyterians can come together to be active peacemakers.
As you know, 50% of the offering goes to PC(USA) for its work, and 25% goes to National Capital Presbytery for its peacemaking efforts. The remaining 25% of our offering stays at New York Avenue and allows the Peace & Justice Committee to actively support peace efforts, whether actions here against gun violence, supporting those who come to DC to advocate for refugees; making sure that the Presbyterian Synod in Beirut can keep schools open for refugee children–that Rev. Elmarie Parker described to you when she was her on September 15–; or helping the Presbyterian Church in Baghdad, Iraq secure a new generator to keep the electricity on.
You will see in the bulletin insert a photo of Pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Basrah, a new pastor from Egypt, who Peace & Justice supported in purchasing a used car to get around Basrah to do pastoring. You will also see a photo of Dr. Zuhair Fatallah, Elder of the Basrah church, whom Peace & Justice sponsored to come to New York Avenue as an International Peacemaker. And, as I just mentioned, Rev. Elmarie Parker visited NYA on Sunday, September 15 in her role as PCUSA Mission Liaison for Iran, Iraq, and Syria through partial funding from Peace & Justice. She brought new understanding of the amazing work the Presbyterian Churches are doing in Iraq.
The Season of Peace is here. We ask you to consider prayerfully how you might advocate for peace, thinking of those who desperately need our support and love, and if you will give to the Peace & Global Witness Offering.
There are special envelopes in the pews or you may donate online at the New York Avenue web site.
So Open the Doors to Peace. Be a Peacemaker. And may the Lord of Peace give you peace at all times in all ways.
Marilyn Seiber, Peace and Justice Committee Chair