Presbyterians Today

AUG-SEP 2018

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42 AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018 | Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay "Advocacy can be as simple as sharing a hashtag or coordinating gatherings with people on social media," Doong said. "With the rise of social media, we all have more of a voice." Sue Washburn is the pastor of Reunion Presbyterian Church in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, and a freelance writer. coalition with other denominations and groups. Although members of the PC(USA) make up just .02 percent of the world's population, working with other denominations and nongovern- mental organizations broadens the global influence the denomination can have. "There is an African proverb that says, 'If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together,' " Smith said. The Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations allows the Presbyterian voice to be heard by a world audience and contributes to the global agenda. Smith's ministry includes attending conferences, making statements and taking part in advocacy and networking. "We work on some of the world's most complex challenges," Smith said. And the work is global in scope, addressing such issues as migrants and refugees, Middle East peace, climate change and human trafficking. Keeping children out of armed conflicts is one of the issues the ministry has addressed in the Red Hand Campaign. UNICEF estimates as many as 300,000 children are involved in armed conflicts around the world. The Red Hand Campaign encour- aged PC(USA) congregations to send cutouts of red hands to the Ministry at the United Nations, which then delivered them to the U.N. offices of countries that have not signed and/or ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict. The red hands came with a letter urging those leaders to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol and reminded them that "Children should be children, not soldiers." "One of the best things about the red hands campaign is that it allowed ordinary Presbyterians to be directly involved in our work at the U.N.," said Simon Doong, a Young Adult Volunteer at the Ministry at the United Nations. The Ministry at the United Nations also hosts a monthly open house for Presbyterians to learn more about the different topics the ministry addresses. Doong says that while it's best to work for God's justice in person, Christians have new ways of working for justice — online tools. LEARN MORE Each spring, hundreds of members of the PC(USA) learn how to take their faith into the world of politics. Compassion, Peace & Justice Training Day brings Presbyterians together in Washington, D.C., to engage in issues of national and international interest, encouraging faithful responses to political challenges like migration, gender and sexuality issues, racial divisions, human trafficking, poverty and climate change. The training day is sponsored by the PC(USA) and is followed by Ecumenical Advocacy Days, a yearly gathering of the ecumeni- cal Christian community that culminates in a visit to Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers. In addition to the yearly training, both the Office of Public Witness and the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations partner with local churches year-round on a variety of issues. Here are some ways you can participate: » Follow the offices on Facebook, Twitter and other social media @PCUSAWashington and @PresbyterianMinistryUN » Sign up for email newsletters and alerts on justice and peace ministries » Create a Grassroots Advocacy Team with the Office of Public Witness advocacy-teams SUE WASHBURN Ryan Smith, director of the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations and the PC(USA)'s representative to the U.N., works with ecumenical partners to advocate for God's justice.

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