Peace With Justice Sunday, set for May 27, is one of the special Sundays of The United Methodist Church. This special offering makes it possible for our ongoing ministries of peace and reconciliation. Your gift can help bring awareness for peace and justice in a hurting world. Recently, Rev. Ashley Randall, a member of the Conference Advocacy team, traveled to the Board of Church and Society in Washington, DC where he met with Peace with Justice Coordinators from across the connection. He shares stories he heard about the impact this offering has across the connection and around the world.(and then include a link to a news story).
Each year, on the first Sunday after Pentecost (May 27, 2018), United Methodists celebrate efforts across the connection that are building peace. Be generous with your gift to this special offering and consider ways you, your Sunday school class, your small group, or your congregation can join God’s work of building peace.
Last summer a group of United Methodist college students from South Carolina and Mississippi traveled together to the Republic of Korea. Called “Parallels of Peace, Pathways to Justice,” the 12-day trip aimed to foster education and engagement between American young people and their peers around the world, enabling them to discuss global issues and forge new steps toward world peace.
The Rev. Jeri-Katherine Warden Sipes, the Peace with Justice Coordinator for the South Carolina Annual Conference, accompanied the students on their trip. She shared some of the details of this trip with Peace with Justice Coordinators from across the connection as we gathered this April at the General Board of Church and Society offices in Washington, DC. “We brought the delegates to learn about the issues (in Korea) and then come back and talk about it here so we can help support them, but also to understand the parallels between our cultures,” Sipes said.
The delegation’s participants spent seven months preparing for the trip. The students said they learned Koreans share much in common with people from South Carolina, from biases about people from “the north” and of different races to a deep human desire to reach beyond those perceptions to achieve new understanding, growth, peace and relationship. On their return each of the students was required to speak about their experience in four local churches and invite congregants to engage in conversations about peace with justice issues in local communities. The cost of the trip was underwritten by contributions from congregations, individuals, and funds collected through the Peace with Justice Sunday offering.
The Rev. PyungAhn “Peace” Kim (Wisconsin) shared plans for a trip to Korea their conference is organizing this October to give people an opportunity to experience the culture and history of the area. Four sponsoring Korean churches in the Dongbu Conference, the sister conference of the Wisconsin Conference, are helping with accommodations so this trip can be offered at an affordable price.
As a way to reframe the conversation around gun violence, Alan Hitchner (Peninsula-Delaware) told the gathering how they partnered with the Trauma Unit of a local hospital to offer a workshop to the community on the physical and emotional effects of gunshot wounds.
Gail Arnold (Dokatas) reported that their conference had established a “Streams of Justice” Award to recognize an individual, a congregation, or an organization within the conference that is doing peace with justice work that is an expression of our mission to make disciples for the transformation of the world. In the Iowa Conference Alejandro Alfaro-Santiz told us they present a “Justice Leadership” Award. In the Susquehanna Conference Michelle Bodle said they present a “Flying Dove” Award.
In Arkansas Stephen Copley reported that they are working to identify five congregations across the conference who would covenant to champion advocacy. These are just a few of the dozens of ideas of ways that coordinators of Peace with Justice ministries are implementing to empower local churches to “strengthen its capacity to act as a public-policy advocate of measures that improve global relations and move toward just peacemaking and measures that provide jobs, housing, education, food, health care, income support, and clean water to all” (2016 Book of Resolutions, #6139).
Peace with Justice ministries are at the heart of what it means for the church to be engaged in God’s mission. Paul states clearly, “God sent Christ to make peace between himself and us, and God has given us the work of making peace between himself and others” (2 Corinthians 5:18, CEV). In a sense we are most like God when we are engaged in ministries of reconciliation—building peace.
Rev. Ashley Randall
Pastor, Garden City UMC
Member, Conference Advocacy Team
If you are at the U2 eXPERIENCE & iNNOCENCE concert in Atlanta on May 28, look for Ashley and Laine Randall. They will be working with a team of ONE volunteers collecting petition signatures and enlisting new ONE members to join the effort to end extreme poverty worldwide.
For further information about the Advocacy Team’s efforts, contact Rev. Earnestine Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org.