Lectionary Selection: Luke 23:33-43
Prayers for Colombia:
Today we pray for the country of Colombia and our partners in mission there. Over the past year they have been actively engaged with the implementation of the peace accords between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas that brought an end to fifty years of war. We pray that their calls for peace and justice may be heard.
We also pray for the ongoing peace negotiations with the ELN guerrillas and for an end to the continued violence that has claimed the lives of dozens of human rights workers and community leaders over the past year. We pray for the safety of our colleagues and for the protection of all Colombians.
At times we all feel like voices crying out in the wilderness. Again this Advent season we long for the cleansing waters of baptism and for winding paths to be made straight. Help us to walk your paths with eager anticipation of the coming kingdom at each turn in the road, from Colombia to the United States and around the world. Amen.Read more
Written by Connie Larkman
A Global Ministries delegation celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with friends and partners in Cuba, as part of a journey to deepen relationships between churches in the two countries. Eight clergy from the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) spent nine days in Cuba from Oct. 25-Nov. 2 meeting with partners, as part of the Caribbean Initiative.Read more
Months ago, the Puerto Rico Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Youth Confraternity (La Confra, acronym in Spanish) initiated a challenge to raise awareness among Christian youth in general about the need to work on prophetic and pastoral issues. Who could have known that a natural disaster would be the perfect setting for this group of excellent young leaders to deepen their commitment to God and neighbor? Hurricane María devastated Puerto Rico on September 20th, 2017 as a Category 4 storm like no other natural phenomenon since 1928. The death toll continues to climb and it destroyed nearly all of Puerto Rico infrastructure, including electric, water and communications services. This is the context where the youth of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Puerto Rico are putting words into practice.Read more
Global Ministries supports peace talks between the Government of Colombia and the National Liberation Army
Various places around the world, October 1, 2017
JUAN MANUEL SANTOS CALDERÓN
President of Colombia
NICOLÁS RODRÍGUEZ BAUTISTA
Commander of the National Liberation Army - ELN
“It is the nature of the church to help on issues such as reconciliation, forgiveness and repentance. The churches in Colombia also have the support of the international community and I’m here representing this support from the World Council of Churches.”
-Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, World Council of Churches (WCC)
“For decades Colombia has yearned for peace, but, as Jesus teaches, two sides approaching each other to dialogue is not enough; it has also been necessary to involve many more actors in this dialogue aimed at healing sins. “But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you.” (Mt. 18:16a)
In the July 2017 newsletter from the Interchurch Center for Social and Theological Studies (CIEETS) in Nicaragua, the following article was shared about a workshop that was supported by Global Ministries and written by Global Ministries long-term volunteer, Magyolene Rodríguez. This article has been translated into English from the original newsletter. To access the full newsletter (Spanish), click here.Read more
Henri Nouwen has a very interesting quote that reminds us of the way our Puerto Rican partners are responding to the crisis after the devastation caused by Hurricane María through the island. He said that “nobody escapes being wounded. We all are wounded people, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. The main question is not “How can we hide our wounds?” so we don’t have to be embarrassed, but “How can we put our woundedness to the service of others?” When our wounds cease to be a source of shame, and become a source of healing, we have become wounded healers.” When our wounds cease to be a source of lament or sense of defeat, and become a source of witness, commitment, service and hope, then we become wounded healers. Nouwen says that Jesus is God’s wounded healer: through his wounds we are healed. Jesus’ suffering and death brought joy and life. His humiliation brought glory; his rejection created a community of love. As followers of Jesus we can also allow our wounds to bring healing to others.
The following “testimonios” from pastors serving the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Puerto Rico and the United Evangelical Church of Puerto Rico, are the best examples of what it means to be wounded healers in accompanying the most affected rural and urban communities in Puerto Rico, that suffered the loss of their homes, work, and well-being, but also who suffered from a strong blow against their emotional and spiritual safety. It is from this departure of every security that these voices are lifted up.
You are also invited to join the General Pastor of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Puerto Rico for a live update on the situation in Puerto Rico, Oct. 11th at 11am ET. - Register now
It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent
enterprise that is God's work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of
saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference
between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
Bishop Ken Untener
(This prayer was composed by Bishop Ken Untener. The words of the prayer are attributed to Archbishop Oscar Romero, but they were never spoken by him.)
Angel Luis Rivera Agosto, Executive for Latin America and the Caribbean, traveled to Venezuela to visit Global Ministries partner, the Evangelical Pentecostal Church of Venezuela (UEPV). The purpose of the trip was to affirm Global Ministries’ long-standing relationships with our partners and to witness first-hand the projects they are doing and plan to do in the future. Our partners expressed appreciation for the trip, seeing it as a gesture of solidarity with the people and church in Venezuela in the midst of present crises.