The Peace Project
Let There Be Peace on Earth and Let It Begin With Me (With Us)
By Rev. Nadine Burton, Regional Minister of the Great River Region
While serving as a short-term volunteer with the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) and Global Ministries, I was introduced to the Peace Project. The Peace Project is an ecumenical initiative of the CCG that opens a path for dialogue and support in ecumenical communities between Christians, Muslims, and the African Traditional Religions in the Northern Region in Tamale, Ghana. I joined in community meetings where the Peace Project is actively being organized by facilitators who provide leadership in communities actively engaged in the work. Village chiefs shared their feedback on the program and what they would like to see improved. They were insistent that project facilitators be educated and trained to facilitate the small group meetings.
There is intentionality among the leaders to work toward peace in their communities and for people to practice their religious beliefs without the threat of retaliation or hate. There is a concern for their children and youth, to keep them out of harm’s way as life happens. Their communities have many of the same problems that we have here in the United States, i.e., gang violence, drug abuse, domestic abuse, and mental illness. During one of the meetings, a mother shared that her son was taking his school money to purchase drugs. Her family stopped giving him money to curtail his drug use. She needs help getting her son back on track and away from peer pressure.
Another area of concern is the growing population of immigrants in the community. They are seen as outsiders and inferior to those who have long-standing relationships in the communities. Facilitators work to challenge stereotypes and build unity.
Emanuel Alhassan Sumani, the Project Coordinator in Tamale, shared that small groups are role models for children and youth in these communities. He shared, “When someone attends church, members need to be able to pour into their lives, help them with their problems, and share a story or testimony to give them hope as they seek resolutions to their problems. An individual may come to church and hear this message, which may give them hope for their own situation.”
I shared in one of my earlier articles Emanuel’s quotes, “Here in Tamale, church is church.” It does not matter whether you are Christian, Muslim, or African. They support each other with respect, attend each other’s weddings and funerals, and are ecumenically joined together to strengthen their communities.
Call to Action:
As we celebrate the Prince of Peace this season, may we pray for peace in our homes, peace in our jobs, and peace in our communities and nation. You are invited to make a gift to the Christian Council of Ghana’s Peace Project. You can give any amount online through this link or by mailing a check to the Global Ministries office. Make sure to designate your gift for the Christian Council of Ghana Peace Project.