Peacemaking Ministry Team
Presbytery Staff Liaison – Rev. Ralph Lowe, Director of Justice Ministries
Team Chair – Rev. Dr. Hendrik Bossers
What We Do
The Peacemaking Ministry Team’s mission is to promote the peaceable kingdom of God on earth. Our Lord taught us to pray saying “…thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven…” We pray and work towards a kingdom where individual worth is respected and valued, where conflict is resolved through reasoned debate instead of violence, and where social, economic and environmental justice reigns. We are called to be beautiful ‘…feet on the mountains… who proclaim peace’ (Isaiah 52:7) wherever we have contact in congregations, presbyteries and communities.
The Peacemaking Ministry Team strives to accomplish their work through a five-fold strategy:
- We Act: The Peacemaking Ministry Team acts on ongoing list of advocacy issues. These are specific initiatives ranging from arms control and alternatives to violent conflict, to education and awareness of social issues in our world that have potential for violence.
- We Recruit: The Peacemaking Ministry Team seeks out and recruits clergy, congregations and community leaders to espouse and advocate peace and peaceful ways of resolving existing or potential conflict.
- We Promote: The Peacemaking Ministry Team promotes global citizenship and governance through its communication and outreach, recognizing that’s God’s creation in planet Earth is a set of resources that belong to all, and must be cared for by all, for the use of all.
- We Connect: The Peacemaking Ministry Team seeks to bring together people in discussion across divides of race, gender, class, religion, sexual orientation and national origin, to create a climate of dialogue and relationship-building.
- We Equip: The Peacemaking Ministry Team seeks out and makes available resources to inform, equip and engage people of faith and goodwill in a culture of peace through spiritual practice and intentional daily living
Five Peacemaking Affirmations for Presbyteries
Pittsburgh Presbytery presented and overture to GA in 2010 to call the church to renew its commitment to peacemaking that was launched in 1980 with the publication of Call to Peacemaking. Our overture was overwhelmingly approved, with addition of specific ways the church would go about engaging anew the commitment to peacemaking.
Following are the affirmations adopted by GA:
- We affirm that peacemaking is essential to our faith in God’s reconciling work in Jesus Christ, whose love and justice challenge hatred and conflict, and whose call gives our church a mission to present alternatives to violence, fear, and misused power.
- We confess our complicity in the world’s violence even as we pray for the Spirit’s courage to “unmask idolatries,” to speak truth about war and oppression, and to stand with those who suffer, and to respond to acts and threats of violence with ministries of justice, healing, and reconciliation.
- We reclaim the power and authority of Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace and Reconciler, who proclaims God’s reign, who inspires the prophetic church, forgiving, healing, and undoing violence, and who overcomes evil through the cross and resurrection.
- We seek to understand the nonviolent revolutions and armed struggles of our time by drawing on the traditions of Christian pacifism, just war, just peacemaking and active nonviolence, and by cultivating moral imagination through prayer, study, and engagement with friends and enemies. Even as we actively engage in a peace discernment process, we affirm our responsibility of continuing the long tradition of support by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for our sisters and brothers who serve in the U.S. military, veterans, and their families.
- As disciples of Jesus Christ, we commit ourselves earnestly to seek and promote loving, nonviolent responses to conflict in our daily lives, in our communities, and in our world, and to risk calling our nation back from the practices of empire to the highest ideals of our heritage, and to practice boldly the things that make for peace.
Please Join Us!
The Peacemaking Ministry Team encourages all congregations to study and sign the Commitment to Peacemaking. The Commitment calls us to work for peace through worship, prayer and Bible study; in families and community living, with community ministries, on global issues and global security; to make peace with the earth; and to receive the Peacemaking Offering. The Peacemaking Ministry Team engages the Presbytery on issues of peacemaking through resolutions on the floor of presbytery meetings as well as leading discussions in congregations, and by supporting peacemaking initiatives by congregations.
The peacemaking priorities for the team are:
- Ecological theology and promoting solar panel development for the church
- Gun safety including legislation, education, and networking
- A middle east initiative with the General Assembly
- Supportive actions for peace at Standing Rock and Palestine
All are welcome to attend our meetings, which take place at Pittsburgh Presbytery Center or local congregations on call each month. Contact one of the presbytery liaisons for the schedule.
Host a “Table Talk: Healing from Violence” Neighborhood Event
The Peacemaking Ministry Team of Pittsburgh Presbytery would like to encourage congregations to host a neighborhood event, “Table Talk: Healing from Violence.” The idea is to invite residents in your larger community to come and discuss the impact of violence on their lives and their communities.
The event would include a meal or other refreshments. Think of your neighbors: people who may have lost a loved one to gun violence, individuals who have suffered because of domestic violence, or anyone feeling the pain of the many acts of violence in our country and in our world. Table Talk could catalyze God’s healing work in our communities. The Peacemaking Ministry Team is pleased to offer $100 grants for up to five congregations that feel led to host such a Table Talk event. The grant would be for the cost of the food and publicity. Churches are deeply encouraged to partner together, sharing in this community witness. If you are interested, please contact a presbytery liaison. Let us answer your questions and join you in the ministry of reconciliation. Click here to read more!