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Swords into plowshares

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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.).

Seeking peace. Striving for justice. Together.

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September 16, 2014

Preparations for Weekend of Theology, Advocacy and Worship Ignite Presbytery

by Noelle Damico

Group talking at a tableScarborough – September 27-­‐28th, Hudson River Presbytery will be hosting a weekend of theology, advocacy and worship called “Changing the Conversation: Claiming Our Voice.” Presbyterians throughout the Synod of the Northeast (and even beyond) are warmly welcome to attend.

The weekend is built around three events, a conference on Saturday at Stony Point Center from 9:00 to 3:30, a fundraising reception for the Office of Public Witness and Presbyterian Ministry at the UN that evening from 4:00 to 6:00, and a worship at Pleasantville Presbyterian Church on Sunday morning at 10:00am that will be simulcast to congregations throughout the presbytery. Learn more and register.

With the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II Director of the Office of Public Witness, and the Rev. Mark Koenig, Director of the Presbyterian Ministry at the UN on deck as leaders and workshops planned for youth and adults, the energy is high as volunteers create space for intentional reflection.

“This presbytery has a long and strong history of standing up for justice and supporting the essential work of the Office of Public Witness and the Presbyterian Ministry at the UN,” explains the Rev. Dr. Susan Andrews, General Presbyter. “With the guidance of J. Herbert and Mark, we will explore how and why we are called to employ our unique Christian voice to bring about change in the world.” 

“The Office of Public Witness and the UN office are partners who amplify the voice of the General Assembly and help individuals and congregations across the nation take action together,” adds the Rev. Dr. William Crawford, Senior Pastor at Larchmont Avenue Presbyterian Church. “Through this weekend we are raising funds to sustain these offices even as they help the PC(USA) sustain its witness in the world.” In addition to the evening fundraiser, many Hudson River Presbytery congregations   are taking a special offering for these ministries.

Across the presbytery, youth and adults are preparing to attend the conference and worship, with the expectation that their presence and thinking will reverberate within their congregational ministries. “This isn’t a one-­‐off thing,” explains the Rev.Margery Rossi, “our planning team is preparing resources to help those who attend and their whole congregation go deeper.”

The “Go Deeper” resources will be available on the conference website. In addition to useful tried and true curricula with a leader’s and participant’s guide, the resources will also include videographies that recount the stories of people who are experiencing the primary impact of injustice around imprisonment, food, and immigration laws, and are working to change these circumstances.

The video from the Sunday September 28th worship where Nelson and Koenig are sharing the pulpit will be posted on the site immediately following the worship’s conclusion. While some congregations will worship through and with the simulcast, others are planning to watch it as part of adult-­‐education and immediately begin using the resources.

“We’re planning to use the video as soon as it posts during our 11:30am adult education class,” explains Barbara Horan, a retired educator and ruling elder at White Plains Presbyterian Church in White Plains.

“It’s the first time we’re trying this and it’s exciting to see how technology is helping us build community and commitment,” explains the Rev. Rhonda Kruse, Connections and Change Presbyter for Hudson River Presbytery. “A number of congregations are joining together for worship on that day to view the simulcast and explore ways   they might work as partners for justice.”

Bryan Bardin, Director of Christian Education and Youth Ministries at Pleasantville Presbyterian Church and a seasoned videographer, has been busy purchasing equipment, coordinating the necessary technology and will be overseeing the preparations. “It’s costing about two hundred dollars to get extra long cables and the special adapter, but it’s something that the presbytery can use over and over.”

And that’s just the point, notes Kruse, “With this weekend we’re making an investment not only in our trusted national offices, but in the members of this presbytery. By inspiring and equipping our members and connecting them for powerful work, we know this weekend will have a lasting impact.”

Categories: Advocacy, Compassion, Justice, Peace

Tags: conference, hudson river presbytery, office of public witness, public witness, stony point center

September 11, 2014

Remembering September 11

There are a number of excellent resources on the PC(USA) website to help guide your prayer and reflection today.  There are also helpful Quaker resources at the Friends Committee website.

We also draw your attention to the 2014 Path of Peace devotion for today.  These devotions are available for subscription or download through October 5:

September 11, 2014 - Luke 24:13–35
Submitted by Christie Wiersma
Reflection: The walk to Emmaus . . . two disciples of the by then crucified Jesus, are walking and discussing together the recent events of their Lord’s death. They encounter a man thought to be ...

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September 5, 2014

A Season of Peace Begins Sunday

A Season of Peace is a four-week pilgrimage designed to deepen the pursuit of peace for congregations, small groups, families, and individuals. Through daily peace reflections, family activities, Bible studies, youth activities, an exciting Intergenerational Peace Fair and our new PEACE CARDS for children and families, you will be invited to enhance and expand your focus on your calling as a peacemaker. Expect encouragement, challenge, inspiration, and education.

The themes for A Season of Peace are based on the Presbyterian resource The Biblical Witness to Peacemaking, a 365-day walk through the Bible focusing on peace and justice passages.

Path of ...

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August 24, 2014

Celebrate the International Day of Peace - 2014

The United Nations has set September 21 as the International Day of Peace. This day provides an opportunity for  individuals, organizations and nations to create practical acts of peace on  a shared date. It was established by a United Nations resolution in 1981 to coincide with the opening of the General Assembly. The focus for 2014 is The Right of Peoples to Peace

Here are some ways to celebrate the International Day of Peace on September 21 or Sunday, September 22 or at some other time:

Promote the Peacemaking Offering

Organize to address racism

Observe a Minute of Silence at ...

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August 22, 2014

National Service of Mourning in Remembrance of Those Who Have Died in Palestine and Israel to Take Place in Washington, DC. on September 3

View the live Web cast of this service.


With news of more violence flaring up in Gaza and Israel after a set of ceasefires, lasting more than nine days, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness calls upon Presbyterians to mourn for those who have died in Israel-Palestine and pray for a lasting and durable peace for both Israelis and Palestinians. If you are in the Washington D.C. area please plan on participating in a service of mourning for all those who have died in Israel-Palestine as a result of the most recent violence. The service ...

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