GA 2010: Peacemaking Committee takes on Afghanistan, Sudan

The lack of any word from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) after eight years of war in Afghanistan was the focus of four overtures to the Peacemaking and International Issues committee of the 219 General Assembly. 

The commissioners spent several hours combining the four into one clear statement calling upon the U.S. government to cease direct combat operations except those that protect efforts to support the mobility, property, and peace of Afghanistan.  Despite passionate words from commissioners from the New York City area to include a call to pray for those families affected by the attack of September 11, 2001, it was not included in the final overture.

Other work dealt with the situation in Sudan, in particular around the referendum scheduled for January 2011, for the southern Sudanese peoples to secede and form their own nation.  PC(USA) congregations and individuals are asked to remember the people of Sudan in prayer.

Ernest Newsome, who pastors a Sudanese congregation in Gallatin, Tenn., shared the struggles of his refugee members who are fleeing war, genocide, and slavery.  “It is time to end that.  We have the power of prayer here to end it.”

One commissioner asked “How do we get the message of peacemaking through to our local congregations?”  The difficulty of information “falling through the cracks” continues as pastors and sessions do not always pass on the mail that they receive.  The Peacemaking Offering is a point of contact, but the efforts of peacemaking should be emphasized all year long, it was suggested.

The whole General Assembly will consider the committee’s recommendations later in the week.