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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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Posts with tag: reconciliation

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:

A choir made up of United Methodist youth and war orphans greeted us at the airport on our arrival in Goma


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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January 27, 2016

Learn about conflict and sexual violence in east Congo

Our partners in World Mission 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 diverse team of 12 Presbyterians will journey to Goma, on the eastern border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on January 27, to take part in a 10-day World Mission travel-study seminar. This pilgrimage of hope and solidarity, is designed to promote understanding of impact of conflict and sexual violence in this volatile region and to enable Presbyterians to learn best practices for accompanying the Church of ...

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August 4, 2014

Joint Prayer for Peace and Reunification

Kurt Esslinger

In a few weeks the entire peninsula of Korea will honor the memory of Liberation Day from Japanese Colonialism on August 15th, 1945. This will be a celebration full of mixed feelings as this day also marks the moment when two foreign powers, the Soviet Union and the United States made the decision without Korean authority to divide the peninsula into two zones. A line that generally follows the 38th Parallel became the line of division. Upon the Korean War, it also became an impassable wall separating families and independence partners who happened to be on the wrong ...

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January 13, 2014

Presbyterian Mission Agency goes orange - how about you?

The Presbyterian Mission Agency will observe an Orange Dayon January 24 to witness and advocate for an end of violence against women and children. 

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November 8, 2013

Visiting partners in South Sudan

I’ve had the  privilege of visiting Presbyterian partners in South Sudan over the past week.  Presbyterians have been engaged with South Sudan for a long time and the strength of our partnerships was certainly evident this week. 

Photo of Ryan in South SudanFrom meeting with ACROSS and learning about the work they do with Ethiopian refugees in South Sudan and their role as a primary health service provider for UNHCR in South Sudan to the Presbyterian schools across the country, it is clear that Presbyterians are hard at work in South Sudan.

I had the opportunity to meet with leaders of the Presbyterian Church ...

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July 5, 2013

Resource for prayer service for South Sudan


Our partners in South Sudan are holding a weekend of interfaith prayer services from July 5- 7, 2013. On July 8, 2013 they will hold a National Day of Prayer for Reconciliation.

The ecumenical community of non-governmental organizations at the United Nations will hold a prayer service on the morning of July 8. Feel free to use or adapt this order of worship or create your own.
May God lead the people of South Sudan to justice and peace.

Thanks to Brendan Welsh and Marissa Costello for their work on this prayer service.

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May 3, 2013

Pray for Peace, Reconciliation and Democracy in Madagascar

The Christian Council of Churches in Madagascar (FFKM) has launched a process of broad-based national reconciliation to enable the Malagasy people to find a way out of the political crisis that has gripped the nation for more than four years.

Representatives of more than 200 political parties and civil society organizations are meeting in Antananarivo, the capital, May 3 to 5 to seek consensus on a way forward.  Please support this initiative by praying for:

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May 15, 2012

A call from the Madagascar Council of Churches

The Malagasy Christian Council of Churches (FFKM) released a declaration on the crisis in Madagascar. The PC(USA) works in partnership with the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar (FJKM), which was formed by the union of three churches in 1968. The FJKM is a member of the Malagasy Christian Council of Churches. The following is the English translation of the declaration. Pray for the people of Madagascar.

Malagasy Christian Council of Churches (FFKM)
English Translation
May 12, 2012

May the grace and peace of God be with you.

After the numerous pleas to the churches within the Malagasy Christian ...

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February 27, 2012


Reconciliation demands justice.

Justice demands repentance.

Repentance demands restitution.

Restitution demands mercy.

From the reflection by Irma Rodriguez-Leon during the Ecumenical Women worship service led this morning by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran World Federation.

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September 26, 2011

The Witness of the Church in Madagascar

Forgiveness means liberation.

Forgiveness means restitution and repairing.

Forgiveness means reconciliation.

The Rev. Hubert Rakotoarivony, International Peacemaker from Madagascar, reflected on the importance of forgiveness as he spoke to a group of 18 people from 9 congregations.

Hubert Rakotoarivony speaking to groupHubert, along with Dan Turk, PC(USA) mission co-worker in Madagascar, addressed the witness of the church in Madagascar.

Hubert spoke of the work toward peacemaking and reconciliation of the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar (FJKM). This begins with an awareness that peace is not just the absence of war or conflict. Peace is active. Peace involves social justice, equity, dignity, non-discrimination ...

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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...

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April 13, 2011

Forgiveness: A Time to Love and a Time to Hate

Check your local PBS listings for a new film on forgiveness. Forgiveness: A Time to Love and a Time to Hate, by Helen Whitney, explores a range of stories from personal betrayal to global reconciliation after genocide. Don Shriver, author...

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April 4, 2011

The Principles and Practices of Forgiveness

How does repentance lead to forgiveness and reconciliation and the future in public life? How do we learn to love a country enough that we remember its misdeeds? What can other countries learn from the South African experience of the...

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December 23, 2010

Heads of Christian churches in Jerusalem issue Christmas message

The heads of Christian churches in Jerusalem have issued a joint Christmas message for 2010 condemning violence in any form and saying that peace and reconciliation requires the active participation of people of faith. Full text of the message: "Glory...

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November 27, 2010

WCC Living Letters Team to visit Philippines

An international team of church representatives will pay a solidarity visit to churches, ecumenical organizations and civil society movements in the Philippines from 1 to 5 December. It will be the last in a series of "Living Letters" visits to...

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November 29, 2009

Advent devotion - November 29, 2009

Scripture: Joel 2:21–27 Hope. Talk to the land. Console the animals. Tell them not to be afraid, because we will purge the locusts and start anew. The people of the Andes feel that the earth, Pachamama, is a living being,...

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January 15, 2009

A View on Gaza from Bethlehem

The Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, pastor of Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, recently posted a reflection on events in Gaza. Here are some excerpts. Mitri writes: "The most important thing, I believe, is not what we are told and shown,...

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