This year’s World Mission Challenge will focus on partnership — and it will put that idea into action in a new way.
As they travel from presbytery to presbytery Sept. 25-Oct. 18, some mission co-workers will be accompanied by International Peacemakers from the same country.
International Peacemakers are people engaged in peacemaking in their own areas of the world. They are invited to by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to visit with Presbyterians in the United States to help explain peace and justice concerns of others around the world, according to the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program’s Web site.
The five teams of International Peacemakers and mission co-workers will represent Sudan, the Philippines, Russia, Guatemala and Colombia.
The teams will travel to presbyteries and itinerate about their work and experiences abroad. They’ll be presenting information in a variety of forms, such as sermons, classes, Sunday school, Bible studies and Minutes for Mission, said Debby Vial, associate for peacemaking partnerships.
Mission does not happen in a vacuum, said Peacemaking Program Coordinator Mark Koenig, adding that the teams will provide an example of collaboration in action.
“They’re all folks that are in partnership with partner churches, social organizations,” he said. “Partnership is a big theme throughout.”
The teams will stick together for the entire challenge, including the orientation that comes before speakers begin itinerating.
International Peacemakers from have long visited the United States; this year, 11 will be in the country, including the five that will travel with mission co-workers.
In addition to the teams, the International Peacemakers’ tour will have other new elements: an Armenian peacemaker will come for the first time, a peacemaker from Vietnam’s small Christian community will come for the first time in 14 years and the first peacemaker with experience in ministry with the Roma people will participate.
A goal of the international peacemakers’ visits has always been inspiration to action, Vial said.
“We want something to happen in that presbytery following that visit,” she said, adding that past visits have lead to advocacy, partnership and mission trips. “We don’t want a speaker to come in and people say, ‘Oh, that was really nice,’” she said.
The International Peacemakers are available to speak at presbyteries, synods and Presbyterian colleges and seminaries. Request forms were due June 15, and confirmations should be sent out mid-July.
For the names and more information about the 11 International Peacemakers visiting the States this year, click here.
To see a list of confirmed presbyteries participating in the World Mission Challenge, click here.