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Be A Peacemaker

Blessed are the peacemakers. Whether between nations, races, faiths, or individuals, violence and its effects take a tragic toll in our world. As Christians, our faith calls us to bring peace to the world, love our neighbors, welcome the stranger, and assist all who suffer. May 30th is Peace With Justice Sunday, when we have a Special Offering to celebrate and support efforts across the United Methodist Church (UMC) in answering this call. But for many, this work may remain something of a mystery. With that in mind, here are some highlights.

Did You Know?

*  Peace With Justice is a faithful expression of shalom in the Bible. It calls the church to strengthen its capacity to advocate publicly for peace and non-violence in communities and nations throughout the world. You can learn more here.

*  This Special Offering is administered by the UMC’s General Board of Church and Society and benefits Peace With Justice ministries in the Annual Conferences and around the world.

* Peace With Justice ministries focus on priorities such as Multinational Cooperation, Peacebuilding (addressing root causes of violence), Ending Ongoing Conflicts, Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament, Gun Violence Prevention, and Compassionate Support for those affected by the impacts of war, violence, and terror.

* GBCS has a United Nations Office that promotes cooperation among nations for peace, mutual aid, and achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.

*  The Virginia Conference’s Board of Church and Society (VBCS) has a Peace and Non-Violence work group.  Its mission is to support Virginia Conference churches in addressing the threat and impact of conflicts and violence in our communities, state, and world. 

* VBCS has worked to end the death penalty in Virginia, explored peacemaking efforts in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and advocated for comprehensive immigration reform.

* The Peace & Non-Violence work group is helping advance a compassionate care initiative for veterans in our congregations who are dealing with the impacts of PTSD and moral injury.

* Peace With Justice grants are available to support initiatives in other countries and in Annual Conferences. Congregations in the Virginia Conference can apply through VBCS. Contact the Conference Peace With Justice Coordinators for more information, Rev. David Magruder or Kenn Speicher.

* Peace With Justice grants recently supported an East Congo roundtable on equitable educational justice, health education programming and services for young girls in Sierra Leone, and an economic empowerment program for Gypsy women in India. 

* A Peace With Justice grant helped support the launch of an interfaith network of volunteers and allies to welcome, assist, and support newly resettling refugees in northern VA. 

* VBCS is available to help congregations learn about Peace With Justice ministry and opportunities, access resources, and participate in Methodist Day at the General Assembly and other advocacy efforts. We encourage each church to have a Church and Society point of contact to receive and share information. Contact a Peace With Justice Coordinator to learn more.

* In 2020, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, generous donors gave $288,487 to the Peace with Justice Sunday offering. Thank you to everyone who participated! 

When you support Peace with Justice Sunday, your gift becomes a voice for advocacy around the world. Together we strengthen God’s family with ministries that empower people and communities to work for peace and an end to non-violence through both immediate action and long-term systemic change. Thank you for past support and your help on the path ahead.