Come to the Table of Justice
On Sunday, our guest preacher, Rev. Mark Vickstrom, did a fine treatment of a very difficult parable: Luke 16’s Parable of the Good Steward. Through the example of the leadership of Zimbabwe, Rev. Vickstrom illustrated what unchecked greed in a despot (Robert Mugabe) can do to an entire nation.
It’s a great time for us to be focusing on other parts of the world, as this month’s Mission of the Month is the “Peace and Global Witness” Offering through the PC(USA). The Offering itself will be gathered on Oct. 2, World Communion Sunday, and the money raised will go towards our denomination’s efforts to help spread peace across the globe. The PC(USA) does this through efforts you can read about in the article entitled, “Taking a Risk for Peace” below.
At CEH, we seek to help spread a message of peace in our family and community. One way is through teaching conflict resolution to our youngest disciples. Loving each other though our views may be polar opposites is something we encourage and support in our Forum class on Sunday mornings. There are also wonderful resource materials available concerning peaceful conflict resolution — ask Nancy Henry and she would be very glad to pass them along. These were available on the Mission Table, but have already been taken down to make way for next month’s mission.
25% of the Peace and Global Witness Offering will also stay right here in Grand County. The Mission Committee chose The Grand County Advocates to receive our local portion of the offering not only for their courageous work helping women and children escape from abusive domestic relationships, but for their encouraging work in the school system and throughout the community to educate and empower.
25% of the Peace nad Global Witness Offering goes to our mid-level councils. Look at how our Presbytery reaches across borders to help all of us serve our world:
The Presbytery of Denver Reaches Out
The Presbytery of Denver reaches out with congregations who work together in mission and ministry. The Guatemala Mission Partnership, which joins four congregations, and Zimbabwe KidZ Mission Partnership, which is composed of three congregations, both work to provide clean water to homes, villages, schools and churches. With congregational giving to the Presbytery, we all share in this life-saving work.
The Presbytery of Denver reaches out to form new ministries with new neighbors from around the world. Vietnamese is the language of their worship, Bible studies, weekly dinners, meetings and outreach to schools, homes and businesses, but the growing Vietnamese Presbyterian Fellowship, which meets at the Presbytery Center is joined with us all in a commitment to share the good news of Christ. Supported by the Presbytery, and now designated a new worshiping community, the fellowship is led by Pastor Tu Minh Bui.
The Presbytery of Denver reaches out in partnership across the world. Partnership is the key value of our Presbytery’s decade-long relationship with the Presbytery of Zimbabwe. Through the partnership, eight Denver Presbytery ministers have served for a month in churches or schools in Zimbabwe. Likewise, elders and ministers from Zimbabwe have led worship in more than forty Denver Presbytery congregations.
The Presbytery of Denver reaches out to the world with the Presbyterian Mission Agency. The Mission Service and Recruitment Office helps Presbyterians discern their call to international mission service, whether as long-term volunteers or mission co-workers; with mission personnel in more than 40 countries, your gifts help Presbyterian World Mission recruit, send, and support people from our own communities in this unique service.
As we look forward to World Communion Sunday, I hope you will be mindful of how desperately our world needs peace, and that you will prayerfully discern how generous you can be as you contribute to this special offering.
With hope for peace,
Come to the Table of Justice
Taking a Risk for Peace
A group of church women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are living witnesses to the declaration in First John that God’s “perfect love casts out fear.”
While the civil war in the DRC officially ended in 2003, the conflict continues to rage in the east of the country. More than five million lives have been lost, and terror can strike communities at any moment. Gang rapes are common, as is the conscription of child soldiers.
Weary of the atrocities war had inflicted on their communities, a delegation from the Federation of Protestant Women in Ituri took a huge risk for the sake of peace. In March 2013, they visited the hiding place of rebel leader Cobra Matata and asked him to lay down his arms. “We have come to tell you that we are fed up with the war,” delegation leader Neema Androsi told him.
Matata was amazed by their courage, but the women walked away with no assurances the militia would cease hostilities.
More than a year later, in August 2014, Androsi, accompanied by the community chief and his staff, paid another visit to Matata, past burning villages that reminded them of the horrors they wanted to stop. The militia leader listened to their appeal but would not commit to peace. Two weeks later, they visited again with the same result.
However, one day in November 2014, Matata announced he was ready to lay down his arms. In anticipation of his surrender, the Protestant women gathered for worship and prayer not far from where Matata was hiding. Moments later, he and many of his militia members gave themselves
up to the Congolese army.
Matata’s surrender did not end the hostilities in the eastern DRC. There are many more rebel groups that continue to fight for control of land, gain access to vast mineral wealth, and avenge ethnic strife.
Yet Androsi and others continue to work for peace in the DRC, inviting their enemies to join them at a table of justice, a table set by God—a table where women experience dignity instead of abuse, where children flourish in school rather than languish in militia camps, and where communities look to the future with hope instead of fear.
Your support of the Peace & Global Witness Offering helps draw people to God’s table of justice, where adversaries are reconciled and God’s abundance is celebrated and shared.
God has set this table of justice and peace for our neighbors down the street and around the world. Presbyterians like you and me who support the Peace & Global Witness Offering are gathering around the table and invite others to join us there. Please give generously.