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Swords into Plowshares is the blog of the Peacemaking Program and the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations of the Presbyterian Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

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February 3, 2016

Developing interfaith relations

Observing World Interfaith Harmony Week

by Robert Arrington

Group with Adi Khair from JordanOn February 2, 2016 at the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, we had the wonderful opportunity of hosting a group from the Westchester Youth Alliance for an interfaith seminar. We celebrated World Interfaith Harmony Week, which was originally proposed by H.M. King Abdullah II of Jordan.

The 40+ high school students began with an interactive panel on the topic of interfaith relations. Panelists included Peter Prove, Director, International Affairs, the World Council of Churches; Deepika Singh, Director of Programs at Religions for Peace; Leslie Brier, UN Representative for Women of Reform Judaism; and Omair Paul, UN Representative for Muslims for Progressive Values and United States Representative for the Youth Advocacy Network of Pakistan.

The students then formed into four groups each of which one panelist joined and together discussed three questions: (1) How can we in our own lives make a contribution to interfaith harmony? (2) What is one thing you wish more people knew/understood about your faith/values? (3) Have you ever caught yourself judging someone else based on a stereotype? How can we stop that in ourselves?

In honor of H.M. King Abdullah II, we also had the pleasure of hearing from Adi Khair, Counselor and Political Coordinator at the Permanent Mission of Jordan to the United Nations. The students brought with them remarkably insightful questions for Mr. Khair that surpassed their age. Mr. Khair even jokingly remarked that they should be in the meetings at the United Nations posing the same important questions to representatives from the member states. All in all, the students brought incredibly salient questions on the complex topics surrounding interfaith relations. It was truly inspirational for such a diverse group of young people to be so invested in making the world a more peaceful place. I have high hopes for the future with these young leaders continuing to interact with each other and serving as a model for developing interfaith relationships.

Robert Arrington is doing a field education placement with the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations through Princeton Theological Seminary. He took the photograph that accompanies this article.

Categories: Congregations, Interfaith dialogue and relationships, Jordan, Youth

Tags: intern, interns, robert arrington, westchester youth alliance, world interfaith harmony week


February 3, 2016

Congo travel-study seminar - Reflection 4

From our partners in World Mission who are sponsoring a travel study seminar to the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo to look at issues related to conflict and sexual violence, the group has divided into three smaller groups:

The days leading up to our dispatched travels as three small groups this weekend, showed us how necessary it is to have several back-up plans. But when even those fail, we are reminded of our reliance on God-given resourcefulness and grace.

The purpose of splitting into small groups and traveling to different areas was to provide diverse and intimate ...

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February 3, 2016

Congo travel-study seminar - Reflection 3

From our partners in World Mission who are sponsoring a travel study seminar to the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo to look at issues related to conflict and sexual violence:

A Biblical theme of our study visit is the Isaiah 65 passage lifting up God's promises. God’s vision of a life of peace and justice for all of God’s people. It is a “not yet” passage, a “becoming” passage. On January 29, we visited those who live out their lives on the furthest fringes of this vision. We also met some of those individuals ...

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February 3, 2016

Congo travel-study seminar - Reflection 2

From our partners in World Mission who are sponsoring a travel study seminar to the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo to look at issues related to conflict and sexual violence:

On Thursday our group, accompanied by Rev. Berthe Nzeba, got a snapshot of the extensive work that is being done in the North Kivu Province through the Eglise du Christ au Congo (the Church of Christ in the Congo or ECC) to support the survivors of rape.  Rev. Nzeba, based in Kinshasa, is the General Secretary of the ECC’s Department of Women and Families. The ECC ...

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January 28, 2016

Congo travel-study seminar -- Reflection 1

From our partners in World Mission who are sponsoring a travel study seminar to the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo to look at issues related to conflict and sexual violence:

 

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) East Congo travel seminar team arrived safely in Goma, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, late Wednesday afternoon, despite the onslaught of Winter Storm Jonas, which compelled several reroutes, delayed one person and prevented another from coming at all.

Read about their welcome and the experiences of their first day.

The photo, by Doug Tilton, shows a choir made up ...

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