‘Know justice, know peace; know peace, know justice’

Peace cannot be achieved in isolation from justice, Indian peacemaker says

September 23, 2011

Neerja Rajeev Prasad

Neerja Rajeev Prasad —Jerry L. Van Marter

Louisville

Eleven international peacemakers from countries around the world will visit congregations and presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) from Sept. 23-Oct. 18.

They will share their stories about church-based ministries in their countries that seek peace justice and pursue peace in the name of Jesus Christ. This year’s international peacemakers come from Bangladesh, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Jordan, Madagascar, Mexico, Russia and Sudan.

The International Peacemaker program is sponsored by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program.

Neerja Rajeev Prasad is secretary of the women’s fellowship for Christian service at the synod and diocesan level of the Church of North India in Nagpur. She will be visiting presbyteries and congregations in New Jersey, New York and Georgia.

Q: What is the situation in your country that you will be addressing?

“I will be speaking about gender justice and equality, corruption, interfaith relations (between Christians, Hindus and Muslims), violence against women and the impact of modernity on indigenous people. Of course, the biggest challenge is poverty.”

 Q: How are the faith communities addressing this situation?

“The Church of North India is into gender justice, sensitizing churches and communities. We stand firmly against corruption because it has such harmful effects on all people.

“We are setting up dialogues among Christians, Hindus and Muslims. This is very important because the Christian church is isolated and fundamentalists are trying to drive us all apart.” More than 120 Christian churches have been destroyed in north India as a result of sectarian strife.

Q: What lessons from your situation are you trying to communicate to U.S. Presbyterians?

“These issues don’t have a particular religion or country ― they are common issues, so must all work together, join hands, to address them.”

Q: What is the primary message you want to communicate to U.S. Presbyterians?

“Peace is universal and cannot be built in isolation from justice. Know justice, know peace and know peace, know justice.” 

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