Here's one that I originally posted over on Swords into Plowshares:
There are two broad foci to the mission of the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations:
- Inspiring and equipping Presbyterians to live as disciples of Jesus in the global neighborhood
- Bearing witness for peace and justice in the community of the United Nations, based on policy statements of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Of course these foci are essentially and inextricably intertwined as events today affirmed.
A group of about twelve Presbyterians from Wellshire Presbyterian Church in Denver, Colorado visited the office this morning. They were the first group of Presbyterian visitors that I had the privilege and joy to host.
As the Presbyterians from Denver gathered in our large conference room, a delegation of church leaders from Sudan met in our small conference room. The Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations helped with their visit based on long-standing Presbyterian involvement with our Sudanese sisters and brothers in Christ and on many statements of the General Assembly calling Presbyterians to work for and pray for a just peace in Sudan.
The Rev. Ramadan Chan, Secretary General of the Sudan Council of Churches, graciously agreed to speak with the Wellshire group.
He shared about the concerns that he and his colleagues share for their beloved country and the impending referendum in southern Sudan. He reiterated their view that violence and war might break out but it is not inevitable - that peace is possible if the nations of the world act swiftly and decisively to support peace and a fair and transparent referendum.
The Rev. Chan explained that he and the other church leaders from Sudan had two primary purposes for their visit. The first is to sound the alarm. They have done that in London with leaders of the United Kingdom. They are doing that in New York with the international community through meetings with Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, national missions at the United Nations, and international organizations and programs. They will do that in Washington, DC next week with leaders of the United States.
Their second purpose is to meet sisters and brothers in the churches of the United States - so we will know their story - we will hold them in prayer - we will advocate with our government.
We talked a bit more about the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations and about ways that our lives as disciples of Jesus intersect with the work of the United Nations . . . through the season of prayer for Sudan, prayers for United Nations Day, participation in Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, and the Red Hand Campaign to end the use of children as soldiers were discussed.
Our time ended with an invitation to Wellshire Presbyterian Church to return for a seminar at the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations. Looking forward to that day!
Photos by Ricky Velez-Negron of the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations.