Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) blogs

Swords into plowshares

Subscribe to this blog feed icon

About this blog

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.

Recent posts



See all PC(USA) Blogs

PC(USA) Home

Posts with tag: hope

March 15, 2015

Presbyterian women at the UN - Libby McDermott

Libby McDermott, member of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) delegation to the 59th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women and Young Adult Volunteer Alumna, reflects on her experience:

Libby McDermottI am no longer a YAV, but I have decided to continue using my Boston YAV blog to share my experience of being a young adult in the church. Last week I had the amazing opportunity to be a part of the Presbyterian Church (USA) delegation to the United Nations 59th Commission on the Status of Women in New York City.

Read Libby's insights on the ...

Read more

December 9, 2013

A counter voice of hope

by Esther Lee

Jo Ella Holman speaking at the briefingOn November 22, I had the privilege of meeting Jo Ella Holman, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Regional Liaison for the Caribbean, and learning about the current events in the region. She discussed happenings in the Caribbean and church’s ecumenical efforts to improve welfare.

In the beginning of her briefing, Jo Ella asked the attendees our immediate thoughts associated with the word “Caribbean”. The responses included natural disasters, African Diaspora, and corruption. The unsettling words came with shared aching hearts for the region’s history. A regrettable reality of the region that stood out to ...

Read more

July 8, 2013

Beauty and Decay

by Marissa Costello

“There can be no true beauty without decay.” I find this statement by Montague H. Withnail to be quite sad in that, this is our reality. Sometimes the most broken or unintentional creations have beauty.

Piece of Berlin Wall at UNWhen taking a tour around the United Nations I saw a fraction of the Berlin Wall that stood high in the garden by the East River. The exterior is covered in graffiti and numerous pieces of artwork.

The significance of this wall is immense. It separated families permanently and restricted travel until 1989. It means so much more than that. The fact ...

Read more

March 12, 2013

The Tragedy and Triumph of An Empty Stomach

... as my grandmother used to say there is always a BUT ...

Laetitia Wells singingThose words serve as a pivotal moment in a powerful sermon of hope preached by the Rev. Laetitia Wells at Good Shepherd-Faith Presbyterian Church in New York on Sunday. Using Jesus' familiar story of the prodigal son as her text, the Rev. Wells explored the role of hope in our lives.

Supply pastor of St. Paul Presbyterian Church in High Point, NC and works as a mental health counselor at the Hughes Center for Exceptional Children, the Rev. Wells is in New York as part of the Presbyterian delegation ...

Read more

October 25, 2012

A revolutionary idea

Mamie Broadhurst and German Zarate“There is nothing more revolutionary than the idea ‘love your neighbor!’' Germán Zárate reminded the group who gathered at the Church Center for the United Nations on October 23, 2012. Germán, Director of the Diaconal of the Iglesia Presbiteriana de Colombia and the Rev. Mamie Broadhurst, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mission co-worker in Colombia, spoke about the ministry of the church in Colombia.

The Iglesia Presbiteriana de Colombia, supported by U.S.-based partners, ministers to our sisters and brothers who have been displaced in Colombia. This ministry involves working to address the human rights crisis ...

Read more

March 6, 2012

From Story to Skills: Advocating with Women in Rural Areas

Kym leads Bible StudyA Parallel Event at the 56th Commission on the Status of Women

During this parallel event women from rural contexts shared their stories connecting experience to issues, Global North to Global South, and the Bible to advocacy, with small group opportunities to learn more and determine actions we can take during the Commission on the Status of Women and at home to address poverty and hunger and work for just development. The event was organized by Presbyterian Women, Young Women’s Leadership Development, Women’s Leadership Development, and the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations in the PC(USA), and ...

Read more

March 6, 2012

Action plans from the parallel event From Story to Skills: Advocating with Women in Rural Areas

Small group discussionDuring the parallel event From Story to Skills: Advocating with Women in Rural Areas, held at the 56th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, participants were invited to share action plans that they plan to implement:

Read more

March 6, 2012

Key insights from the parallel event From Story to Skills: Advocating with Women in Rural Areas

Meredith Mimlitz reportsDuring the parallel event From Story to Skills: Advocating with Women in Rural Areas, held at the 56th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, participants were invited to gather and discuss and share key insights they gleaned:

Read more

December 29, 2011

Sharing hopes

Hug-a-Planet with hopes on Post-it-NotesEach Thursday, the community gathers for worship at the Church Center for the United Nations. Different groups take turns leading in proclamation and prayer.

On Thursday, December 14, the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations had the privilege to provide leadership. The service focused on inviting participants to share their hopes for the world during Advent.

Peng Leong (who took the accompanying picture), Ricky Velez-Negron, and Ryan Smith led the service.

The question posed that day remains, as a follower of Jesus Christ - what are your hopes for the world and its people?

Read more

December 10, 2011

Human Rights Day

As we celebrate Human Rights Day today, I reflect on the words of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said a few days earlier on the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, “To eradicate contemporary forms of slavery, we need new strategies and measures that can unite all actors. While Governments bear the primary responsibility, the private sector has an integral role to play.”  Couldn’t this same argument be made in regards to human rights?

Governments certainly play a large role creating, implementing and changing strategies to protect human rights.  With that said, we as global citizens, the ...

Read more

December 2, 2011

Words save lives

Will you write a letter to save a life?

I will.

Tonight I signed up to participate in Amnesty International’s Write for Rights Global Write-a-thon between December 3 and December 11. This time period includes Human Rights Day.

Hundreds of thousands of people from around the world will take part in the Write for Rights Global Write-a-thon; Amnesty International calls it the world’s largest human rights event:

Through letters, cards and more, we take action to demand that the human rights of individuals are respected, protected and fulfilled. We show solidarity with those suffering human rights abuses, and ...

Read more

September 6, 2011

Prayers of hope and remembrance

What do people write on Ribbons of Hope for the 10th Anniversary of September 11, 2001?

During the Thursday, August 25, 2011 worship service at the Church Center for the United Nations, participants wrote the following prayers:

All of God’s people to rise up heal, help, hope and care.

May this time of remembering be a “Grand Happening.”

Oh God. Make us an instrument of thy peace! Shalom. Amen.

Hope for the World, for all nations, for my kids, for all children. Hope for peace for all.

That we should claim righteousness.  Give us a humble, kind and lovely ...

Read more

July 3, 2011

A prayer for July 9

God who makes all things new,
as this new day dawns,
bringing the birth of a new state,
we pray out of grave concern,
we pray into hope abounding.
We pray that justice and well-being will prevail
for all the peoples of Sudan and South Sudan,
for all the peoples of South Sudan and Sudan.
Bless the peoples.
Bless the nations.
Guide them in the paths of peace.
We pray in Jesus' name.

Read more

June 15, 2011

PC(USA) Middle East Monitoring Group releases Kairos Palestine Study Guide

From the Presbyterian News Service:

Fulfilling a portion of its mandate by the 219th General Assembly (2010) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Middle East Monitoring Group (MEMG) has finished its work on a study guide for the Kairos Palestine document.

According to the MEMG’s preamble to the study guide, it “is designed for ordinary Presbyterians, who may have little experience with the plight of Palestinian Christians or the dynamics of the larger Israeli-Palestinian struggle, to better understand what our sisters and brothers in Christ from that region are experiencing and saying about faith and life in ...

Read more

June 2, 2011

A prayer of fear and hope for the peoples of Sudan

God of the ages, July 9 draws near and I fear . . . I fear for my brothers and sisters in Sudan. I fear that preparations and plans for the independence of South Sudan have not been carefully made. I fear that the United Nations and the nations and intergovernmental organizations of the world are unclear as to how to engage and support this transition. I fear that individuals and communities and factions will turn too quickly to violence. I fear that war and destruction will again be unleashed: north against south, tribe against tribe, people against people. I fear for my ...

Read more

May 27, 2011

A Jerusalem Prayer - May 29, 2011

Sunday, May 29, 2011 begins the World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel 2011. Here is a prayer for that day from the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem: Isaiah 2:1-5; 11:9 “In days to come the mountain of the Lord's...

Read more

May 10, 2011

A blessing

May the blessing of the God of peace and justice be with us; May the blessing of the Son who weeps the tears of the world's suffering be with us; And may the blessing of the Spirit, who inspires us...

Read more

May 9, 2011

Hope for Darfur - Justice in Sudan Rally

Hope for Darfur - Justice in Sudan Rally Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 1:30 PM Washington, DC Register for the Rally Find other ways to support the effort The Hope For Darfur - Justice in Sudan Rally objective is to...

Read more

March 3, 2011

Inspiring and hopeful with more work to come

by Ryan Smith On March 2, 2011, representatives from the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations and Presbyterian Women joined Milcah Lalam, a peace building development specialist with RECONCILE in Sudan with expertise in trauma healing, drama as therapy and...

Read more

December 19, 2010

Advent Devotion - December 19, 2010

Scripture - Psalm 80:1–7, 17–19 Do you ever feel like it is hard to get God’s attention? Or difficult to figure out where God is? It was hard for the people reflected in Psalm 80 as well. Here they are,...

Read more

December 19, 2010

Flooding, disappearances, and hope: Colombia updates

The people of Colombia face floods: Colombia: Floods 2010 - Situation Report #10 UN agencies in Colombia allocate funds for flood emergency response The people of Colombia have endured numerous disappearances: Disappearances in Colombia on a Scale Never Imagined Breaking...

Read more

December 17, 2010

Advent Devotion - December 17, 2010

Scripture - Psalm 130 and Matthew 11:2–15 This time of year finds the air buzzing with a fabricated and often frustrated excitement. Do you enjoy or endure the holidays? Do you seek something that seems altogether missing from the list...

Read more

December 13, 2010

Advent Devotion - December 13, 2010

Scripture - Psalm 40 There is no greater challenge for the life of faith than seeking to be sure when one perceives God’s will. Not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” gets it straight. Secular critics of religion often assume that...

Read more

December 12, 2010

Advent Devotion - December 12, 2010

Scripture - Luke 1:46–55 The stories of the birth of Jesus are witnesses of the many ways in which people can experience the transformative power of God’s presence in their lives. They also are echoes of the powerful hope this...

Read more

December 7, 2010

Advent Devotion - December 7, 2010

Scripture - 1 Thessalonians 5:12–28 I gained a greater appreciation for Mary during two Advent seasons when I was either on maternity leave or pregnant. Sleep deprivation and morning sickness made it easy to empathize with Mary. Although to us...

Read more

September 4, 2010

To believe a just peace is possible

As direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians begin, the Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Rev. Gradye Parsons, sent a letter to President Obama expressing appreciation for the president's work toward a just and peaceful solution to the...

Read more

June 6, 2010

An Election of Debt

By Nancy Eng MacNeill From province to province, precinct after precinct, throughout the Philippine islands, the May 10, 2010 elections showed widespread evidence of voter intimidation, vote buying, campaign violations on Election Day, denial of voter rights, and more. As...

Read more

May 8, 2010

7:00 a.m. Sunday, May 9, the Philippines

As I begin this post, it is seven o'clock a.m. on Sunday morning in the Philippines. The day before the election has dawned. Across the country, people will give thanks and raise their hopes and express their fears in prayer....

Read more

May 8, 2010

A prayer for the Philippines at the time of election

God of compassion, hold the people and the leaders of the Philippines gently in these last days before the election. Fill hearts and guide spirits so that the leaders and people turn from violence. Grant courage to nurture relationships that...

Read more

May 8, 2010

Strong relationships lead to hope

By Matt Lang, election observer in the Philippines, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) On Saturday morning we had a press conference with several members of the media. Each participant was asked to give a brief statement about why they were in the...

Read more

April 18, 2010

The people refuse to give up hope

On Maundy Thursday (April 1), participants in the evaluation of the Colombia Accompaniment Program visited Via Blanca outside Galapa. The following reflection was written about the event. This morning we visited a rural displaced community of people who are farming...

Read more

April 7, 2010

Pray for Sudan at the time of the election

Here is a prayer for the people of Sudan as the April 11 election draws near. Gracious God, We seek a just and lasting peace for our brothers and sisters in Sudan. May the Sudanese people never lose hope and...

Read more

April 3, 2010

Hope, encouragement and perseverence

Alleluia! Christ is Risen. He is Risen Indeed. Alleluia! We, the Heads of the Churches in the Land of the Holy One, share with you the Good News of the life of our local Christian Church as one Body in...

Read more

March 29, 2010

A prayer for Easter

For this Easter day and all the Easters of our lives; We thank you with hearts overflowing, O God. For times when we were violated by word or deed and were raised again; We thank you with the vitality of...

Read more

February 4, 2010

Kairos Palestine Document

Members of Catholic , Greek Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican and Baptist traditions in the Palestinian Christian community issued a statement in Bethlehem on December 11 called the "Kairos Palestine Document". Many of these brothers and sisters in Christ are partners of...

Read more

January 4, 2010

Happy Christmas

I am still listening to Christmas music - at least until Epiphany. This morning's songs included "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)," by John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band. It was a bittersweet listen - gratitude for the...

Read more

December 19, 2009

Palestinian Christians call for just peace

On December 11, Palestinian Christian Leaders released a statement commonly called the Kairos Palestine Document. The ceremony that launched the document took place at the International Center of Bethlehem and was attended by over fifty people, included members of the...

Read more

September 10, 2009

Songs of Grace: New Hymns for God and Neighbor

Sing a new song! Songs of Grace includes over 70 new hymns written to celebrate biblical stories, the church year, sacraments, peacemaking and more. The new words, written to well-known hymn tunes, offer expressions of hope, joy and spiritual enrichment....

Read more

September 6, 2009

Work for a world without nuclear weapons: Pray

A recent statement by the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches notes that we have entered a season of hope in the effort to abolish nuclear weapons. The statement closes with a prayer:God of all times and seasons,...

Read more

December 24, 2008

On this night we gather

On this night bellies spasm with hunger winter seeps into the bones of people with no homes thoughts turn to Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and places between and beyond people plot violence children watch parents die of AIDS, wondering when their turn...

Read more