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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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November 20, 2013

The Growing Voice of the Red Hands

by Esther Lee

Red handsIt is our joy to announce that this year, Cameroon (4 Feb 2013) and Zimbabwe (22 May 2013) ratified or acceded to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict. The momentum continues to build. Thanks to all who participated.

The Red Hands made by Presbyterians all over the country are delivered to the permanent missions at the United Nations asking them to encourage their governments to sign and ratify the protocol. Though this treaty does not guarantee absence of children in the military forces ...


November 16, 2013

Visits in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Women's group meeting in the DRCDebbie Braaksma, Africa Area Coordinator; Jeff Boyd, Regional Liason for Central Africa and I traveled to Kananga and Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo this week to meet with Presbyterian Community of Congo (CPC) and Presbyterian Community of Kinshasa (CPK) church partners. In Kinshasa, we were joined by Christi Boyd, Facilitator for Women and Children’s Concerns for the PC(USA) in the region.

We had the opportunity to visit Presbyterian schools, hospitals supported by the PC(USA) and meet with church leaders about community development, health, evangelism, education and many other issues.

We also had the opportunity to speak ...


November 12, 2013

Statement by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on the Loss of U.S. Vote at UNESCO, November 8, 2013

UNESCO LogoToday [November 8] the United States lost its vote in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) General Conference as a result of legislative restrictions that prohibit the U.S. from paying its dues.  While these restrictions are motivated by concerns that we share, the loss of the United States’ vote in UNESCO diminishes our influence within an organization that is looked to around the world for leadership on issues of importance to our country, including the rights of women and girls, Internet governance, freedom of the press, and the recognition and protection of cultural heritage.  The Obama ...


November 11, 2013

Philippines Typhoon Haiyan

From our partners in Presbyterian Disaster Assistance:

One of the worst recorded typhoons in history, Haiyan has left many dead, hundreds of thousands displaced, and extensive damage.  The initial response includes provision of non-food items, drinking water and emergency shelter kits.  All PC(USA) mission workers are reported safe.  Read more.

PDA will respond with One Great Hour of Sharing and designated funds as assessments are completed, needs are identified, and an appeal for assistance is issued.

Give online to support disaster response in the Philippines.

Visit the Philippines response index for reports and resources

Call to Prayer for the ...


November 11, 2013

Blessed Are the Peacemakers of Syria

 

After a month of traveling and speaking to congregations in the presbyteries of East Tennessee, Long Island, Mackinac and Santa Fe, Rev. Butros Zaour and wife Wafaa Nader have returned safely to Syria. 

Butros' presentation included powerful stories and challenging images from the combat zones of Damascus and Aleppo. Reverend Seth Finch, pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque described the Zaour's visit saying, "Butros Zaour had a profound impact wherever he went. Perhaps the lasting image I will have is after his presentation at our Presbytery. His powerful words moved the whole presbytery to tears, and the Missional ...

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