Presbyterians Today

OCT 2018

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OCTOBER Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay experienced and was very sad to hear what was happening," said seminary student Ravo Vonialisoa. Vonialisoa says her goal in ministry is to "bring new ideas and new life to the churches I serve and a new life to the nation." Her resolve was strengthened by her Presbyterian visitors. "I realize now that the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar is not alone. I will share this with the churches I serve so they know that there are many around the world praying for us," she said. "I feel a greater connection to the worldwide church." Gifts to the Peace & Global Witness Offering are traditionally received the ƒrst Sunday in October, which is World Communion Sunday. Pat Cole is a communications specialist for the Presbyterian Mission Agency that was created and hosted by the late Fred Rogers, a Presbyterian minister. Brigid D'Souza, the parent of two campers and one of the camp's adult leaders, called it "a really impor- tant gift" to her children and other campers. "When I was growing up, I didn't attend Bible study camp, so for me it was informative to see what this type of camp could mean for kids," she said. Many congregations and mid councils use gifts from the Peace & Global Witness Offering to put creative ideas like Peace Camp into action. Twenty-ƒve percent of the Peace & Global Witness Offering is retained by congregations for local ministries of peacemaking and reconciliation, another 25 percent supports such ministries at the mid council level, and 50 percent goes to the peacemaking and reconcilia- tion ministries of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). A portion of the gifts to the national church helps the PC(USA) reach out to people who long for peace and reconciliation. As unlikely partnerships take shape, people carry each other's burdens, advocate for one another and share each other's hopes. Forming new partnerships Members of the PC(USA) and the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar (FJKM) shared such an experience this past year through a travel study seminar. Madagascar is an island nation located 250 miles off Africa's east coast. Due in part to years of unsus- tainable development practices, the country suffers greatly from poverty and government instability. Despite this, the churches' efforts to allevi- ate hunger and promote democracy offer much hope. "The church there is so alive. It is active and caring, and they encour- aged us to be more faithful," said Lucy Janjigian, a longtime mission advocate in Los Altos, California. Seminar participants were inspired by the agricultural, edu- cational and health care ministries that the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar and Presbyterian mission co-workers do together. The participants are now sharing the story of the Malagasy people and are calling Presbyterians to deepen their commitment to them. Particularly, they want Presbyterians to advocate for an end to the current practices of stripping the country of natural resources without replenishing them, often done in the name of development. The seminar participants' convic- tions were deepened by the people- to-people contact. "I can see the faces of the people," Janjigian said. "It makes it so much more alive." At the FJKM's Ivato Seminary, students empathized with some hardships that Janjigian herself has endured. Janjigian gave an account of her family ˜eeing Jerusalem during the 1948 war and talked about the ongoing struggles in the Holy Land. "I was very surprised by the violence people there have LEARN MORE Learn more about the Peace & Global Witness Oering by visiting specialoerings•pcusa•org• peace-global•html COURTESY OF THE ABARAOHA FAMILY The Rev. Princeton Abaraoha, center, who once carried a gun as child soldier in Nigeria, is thankful for the gifts to the Peace & Global Witness O•ering. The gifts help children in war-stricken countries.

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