Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pray for Peace in Colombia

Pray for Peace in Colombia on Sunday, September 30, 2012

Lectionary Selection: Mark 9: 38 -50

Mission Stewardship Moment from Colombia:
Earlier this month, on Tuesday, September 4, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos confirmed that the Colombian Government and Colombia’s largest guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (or FARC) would begin formal peace talks on October 8th in Oslo, Norway and then continue them in the following months in Havana, Cuba.

Colombians are hopeful that this fourth attempt at ending the 50-year-old armed conflict that has cost so many lives in Colombia may be successful. The last attempted peace process was over ten years ago and ended in failure. Churches across Colombia are praying for peace and ask you to join them.
Colombian churches have consistently been working for peace for many years now. In April, many church leaders gathered for an Ecumenical Summit at the Summit of the People, a parallel gathering to the Summit of the Americas (overshadowed in the US by the Secret-Service sex scandal). The culmination of that meeting was a statement from Colombian religious leaders calling on President Santos to enter into negotiation with the guerrilla groups for peace. The Peace Commission of the Evangelical Council of Colombia called for a wide church gathering on Wednesday, September 27, to discern how the church can best support this new peace process.

The United States is also involved in this conflict. Our government continues to be the largest source of military aid to Colombia, as well as the source country for most of the weapons used by the illegal armed groups – guerrillas and paramilitaries. And the majority of illegal drugs, that provide funding for all sides, continue to flow north in an attempt to meet the seemingly insatiable demands of US consumers. May we now join in prayer and active support for peace in Colombia.

Prayer for Colombia:
Loving God, we have heard rumors of peace in Colombia. We come before you today confessing the violence in our hearts and in our society. And we come before you today asking for peace here and in Colombia. God, you have called us to be the salt and light of the earth… and yet we are often stumbling-blocks along the way. Renew in us our saltiness and help us to reflect your light. We want to be at peace with one another and with our brothers and sisters in Colombia, just as they wish to be at peace with themselves and with us. Through our shared commitment to Jesus Christ we know that our relationship can be about more than guns and drugs. Help us to be at peace with each other. We pray for our sisters and brothers in Colombia and for religious leaders that are working for peace. We join with them today in prayer. Amen.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Quick Request: Words of Encouragment

Next week I will be participating in a retreat for victims of the armed conflict in Colombia being organized by the Mennonite Brethren Church in Chocó.

Chocó is one of the provinces with the highest rates of poverty and its citizens have lived through decades of violence from all the armed groups in Colombia.

As part of the workshop we would like to share with the participants words of encouragement from around the world.

Would you take just a minute to write just one or two sentences of encouragement for us to share? Please include your name (just a first name is fine) and your church/city/state.

If you're receiving this via email, you can reply via email... or if you're seeing this on my blog or Facebook, feel free to just use the comments section.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

CEDECOL National Assembly, DoPA and Summit of the People

Just got back last night from the 59th Annual National Assembly of the Evangelical Council of Colombia (CEDECOL) in the lovely colonial city of Popayán, Cauca.

Highlights, other than bouncing over the Andes in a Fokker 50, included participating in round-table discussions on Human Rights and Church and State led by Rev. Pablo Moreno and Rev. Jairo Suárez (both members and leaders of the CEDECOL Peace Commission), as well as hearing a sincere thank you from CEDECOL President, Rev. Edgar Castaño, for the important documentation of the Prophetic Call Human Rights Documentation Project.

Yesterday, the Peace Commission went public with the decision to hire a paid National Coordinator. Please pray for the Commission to find the right person to fill this important position; the first time in its 20 year history that the Peace Commission will have a National Coordinator working full-time for the Commission.

In other news, the Peace Commission is once again asking you to join us in the Days of Prayer and Action for Peace in Colombia. You can download worship packet here for worship resources for your church to join us!

Here in Colombia we will be joining with other churches and civil-society organization at the Summit of the Peoples which will offer civil-society alternatives to the Summit of the Americas which will gather the Presidents from across the continent on April 14 and 15. We plan to hold a public peace vigil on Friday, April 14.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Video Interviews with Yours Truly

While on home assignment in the United States from May-November, 2011 Global Ministries produced a couple of short interviews with me about my work.

This first video was shot in October 2011, just prior to my return to Colombia for a second term:

This second video was shot in May 2011 just after I had returned to the US after my first term in Colombia: