to gather with a "United Nations" of sisters and brothers, a multicultural, inclusive community;
to hear music ranging from Oh Happy Day to The Holy City;
to remember Naomi who presented me the cross I wore to preach, who lived as a child of resurrection in a world of Good Fridays;
to experience anew the reality of the Communion of Saints - those with whom we once share life's journey go with us as the journey continues;
to watch the flowering of the cross and to realize, for the first time, that it denies not the obscenity of crucifixion but proclaims that, affirms that, though consequences continue and wounds remain, resurrection follows - new life blooms.
It was good today.
Reposted from my personal blog - a bit after Easter Day - but in the Easter season!
That particular visit had to be rescheduled and last night was the night. It started with a great dinner at the SriPraPhai Thai Restaurant. A short driving tour of Queens followed and then we arrived at the church.
The members listened intently as I shared about the call of Jesus to engage not only in a personal faith and a faith that we live in the community of the faithful but a public faith - where we live our faith in our common life - the public arena - the global neighborhood.
The Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations helps individuals and congregations live such a public faith.
We equip Presbyterians for global discipleship through:
opportunities to preach and teach and visit
creating prayers for special days and for situations in need of peace and justice around the world
partnering with Columbia Theological Seminary for a Doctor of Ministry course every other year
We advocate for peace and justice based on the positions of the General Assembly by:
building relations with UN programs and missions of member states
participating in working groups with faith-based and other nongovernmental organizations
arranging for Presbyterian mission co-workers and mission partners to meet with representatives of UN programs and member states
contacting missions of member states
working with Ecumenical Women to influence the Commission on the Status of Women
When I finished, we engaged in a good discussion. The folks at First Presbyterian Church of Whitestone are planning to create Red Hands (to call for an end to the use of children as soldiers) with their Vacation Bible School.
And then one of the members made the observation: "You have the coolest job!" Thanks be to God and to the Presbyerian Church (U.S.A.) and to those who provide financial support for the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations - I do.
child soldiers, Commission on the Status of Women, Ecumenical Women, First Presbyterian Church of Whitestone, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, Red Hands, Tap Project, Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, UNICEF
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness is concerned about the impact of the House approved Ryan budget on persons living in poverty across the globe, including the U.S. Although many congressional arguments are framed as partisan politics and spending cuts, this really is a significant class war (with persons on both sides of the aisle supporting similar views) emerging that threatens to debilitate many persons in local communities. State and local governments will be significantly impacted with dire poverty and the challenges that follow if some of the proposed legislation is passed by both the House and Senate. However, the greatest impact will be felt in local communities. It is important that you not be silent in these times.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Public Witness is concerned about the impact on the House approved budget and the proposed Ryan budget on persons living in poverty across the globe, including the U.S. Although many congressional arguments are framed as partisan politics and spending cuts, this really is a significant class war (with persons on both sides of the aisle supporting similar views) emerging that threatens to debilitate many persons in local communities. State and local governments will be significantly impacted with dire poverty and the challenges that follow if some of the proposed legislation is passed by both the House and Senate. However, the greatest impact will be felt in local communities. It is important that you not be silent in these times.
Constituents are important to political leaders! Your participation in the political process is important. Let your Senators and Representatives hear from you. They are on break in their local districts until Monday, May 2nd and will return to Washington on Tuesday, May 3rd. Call, write, email, text, fax...let your voices be heard.
Visit the Presbyterian Church Washington Office on Facebook or watch video posting on YouTube titled Setting a Budget Consistent With Our Faith (Part 1,2 and 3).
The World Sunday for Peace is part of the WCC's International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) which will take place 17 -25 May in Kingston, Jamaica and marks the culmination of the “Decade to Overcome Violence: Churches Seeking Reconciliation and Peace”. Here is a prayer that congregations, communities and individuals are encouraged to use:
Prayer for peace - Sunday 22 May 2011
God of peace and possibility, Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier: We approach you to ask once again for your mercy, forgiveness and a fresh start. We ask you to help us give peace a chance, in this world. We want to give peace a chance, yet we have already missed so many opportunities. We have sabotaged so many initiatives; instead of overcoming evil with good, we have stood by while good was overpowered. Forgive us, Lord.
Dona nobis pacem: Give us peace, we pray.
Just as we claim your forgiveness, we also claim this moment in the name of peace. We accept anew our responsibility as peacemakers and creators of justice. We give thanks for the Decade to Overcome Violence, for its work in raising our awareness and our yearning for peace. And yet, we admit that there is much more required if we are truly to give peace a chance.
Dona nobis pacem: Give us peace, we pray.
By the moving of your Spirit, commit our hearts and minds to peace, and help us dedicate our lives to becoming the starting-points of peace. “Let this be the moment, now.” Help us cooperate with you, giving peace a chance, creating a world where peace may be our ethos and our essence. Give us peace, we pray. Grant us wisdom and courage to seize the initiative: wisdom to discern the things that make for peace, and courage to be faithful and obedient to you.
Dona nobis pacem: Give us peace, we pray.
God of peace and possibility, make us instruments of your peace at the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation and in all places so that we may fulfill your will, and so that we may give peace a chance. In the name of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Amen.
As the sun rises on Sunday 22 May Christians and churches across the world are being encouraged by the World Council of Churches (WCC) to celebrate God’s peace in their worship services, to hold a Peace Sunday dawn vigil, to plant a tree as an act of peace or to use social media to share prayers for peace with Christians around the world.
"Each tree will become the lasting symbol of our united efforts to bring the peace of Christ to our suffering world" says the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, the WCC general secretary. "We hope that people will feel inspired to use social media like Twitter or Facebook to share pictures, peace prayers and hopes for a just peace in their own language."
The World Sunday for Peace is part of the WCC's International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) which will take place 17 -25 May in Kingston, Jamaica and marks the culmination of the “Decade to Overcome Violence: Churches Seeking Reconciliation and Peace”.
Over a thousand people from around the world will be meeting in Kingston to celebrate the promise of a just peace. Churches in the Caribbean have prepared a prayer for peace for churches throughout the world to use on the Sunday for Peace.
Hymns, texts and ideas that congregations can use to prepare for their celebration of the peace Sunday are available.
"It can be quite a challenge to write a prayer in just 140 keystrokes on Twitter, but such small steps are part of our journey to building a just peace," said Tveit. "It's our hope that the worldwide prayer for peace on 22 May will help build bridges of just peace."
As the sun rises over the world on 22 May, keep the WCC updated about how your church is praying and acting for peace with justice, write your prayers for peace and share photos of your vigil and tree planting:
On Twitter use the hash tags #IEPC #Sunday4peace #Justpeace and #WCC.
As a student, I travelled to Tanga, Tanzania to do community development work and research for 3 months. Before I left for Tanzania, I received every vaccination that was required, received the most expensive and top-of-the-line antimalarial pills and bought a treated mosquito net.
I lived in a house with indoor plumbing with a group of British expatriates and worked in a rural village. I bought bottled water from the market everyday, I used this bottled water to brush my teeth, clean my fruit and for hydration. I wore long pants and long sleeve shirts, even though some days the temperature reached well over 120 degrees Fahrenheit. I wore insect repellent. I did everything “right.”
Then it happened. My house flooded one morning and I broke out in a rash. I went to the local hospital where I volunteered teaching English and received tests. About a half hour later, I found out that I had Malaria. I was confused, I had done everything right…now…I had Malaria.
For me, malaria was a sickness, treatable and curable. For so many others, malaria takes their life. Today is important because it is World Malaria Day. World Malaria Day works to bring attention to this treatable, yet deadly disease.
…a time for examining the progress we have made towards malaria control and elimination and to renew efforts towards achieving the target of zero malaria deaths by 2015.
We have come a long way towards realising this goal since the first World Malaria Day four years ago, when it was estimated that a child died every 30 seconds of malaria. The huge increase in support for malaria control interventions in recent years means we can now acknowledge a reduction in the death rate; where once over a million people died of the disease annually, the figure is now closer to 790,000. This is progress and it shows that what we are doing is working. However we can’t afford to ease back until this number is zero, and this year everyone in the malaria community is discussing the remaining obstacles we face in the fight against malaria. (http://www.worldmalariaday.org/home_en.cfm)
Like so many other issues that challenge our world, we pray for the future. We pray that malaria deaths will be eliminated and the other Millennium Development Goals will be achieved by 2015. Let’s work together so that others may survive as I have.