Mission Crossroads

SUM 2018

Mission Crossroads is a three-time-a-year magazine focused on worldwide work of the PC(USA). It offers news and feature stories about mission personnel, international partners and grassroots Presbyterians involved in God's mission in the world.

Issue link: https://missioncrossroads.epubxp.com/i/983828

Contents of this Issue


Page 14 of 23

Mission Crossroads 13 and, God willing, the church will be in the community to help it rebuild after a conflict ends." is is more than many nongovernmental and humanitarian organizations can say. e Office of Public Witness advocates with Congress and the presidential administration in partnership with PC(USA) partners around the globe. U.S. foreign policy affects many of our brothers and sisters directly — many times for the worse. e Office of Public Witness brings the experiences of our church partners to the attention of policymakers. It is their knowledge and experiences of the consequences of U.S. policy on the ground that make the Presbyterian witness in Washington a credible source of information for policymakers. In addition to direct advocacy, the Office of Public Witness educates Presbyterians on key issues that affect our partners and provides the tools they need to do advocacy with their members of Congress and the administration. One example of this advocacy work, with the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon (NESSL), occurred after the U.S. cut diplomatic ties in Syria. It resulted in the removal of the ambassador and diplomats. During this time, the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations met with the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., and we shared information directly from our partners who were in communities being affected by the conflict. e U.S. ambassador listened intently to the needs of the Christian community in Syria and the only U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria included the protection of religious minorities. We also brought leadership from NESSL to meet with representatives from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Department of Political Affairs, the European Union, the U.S. and Russia. Our access to decision makers allowed our partners' voices to be heard. At the same time the Obama administration was considering escalating the war in Syria, the Office of Public Witness organized meetings for our partners from NESSL with members of Congress and the administration, including State Department officials and members of the National Security Council, as well as key members of the Foreign Relations Committees in both the House and Senate. Our Syrian partners spoke forcefully against any further escalation. e Office of Public Witness sent action alerts to Presbyterians to contact the administration and Congress. rough the collective efforts of the Office of Public Witness and more than 5,000 U.S. Presbyterians, a decision was made not to escalate the conflict. ese advocacy efforts made an impact on U.S. foreign policy. Another highlight is Cuba. e Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations works with members of the U.N. General Assembly to support its annual resolution asking the U.S. to remove sanctions that have not resulted in change in the Cuban political system and have systematically hurt our Cuban sisters and brothers. is General Assembly resolution has continued to gain support in the U.N. General Assembly. Last year, 191 of the 193 member states of the U.N. voted in favor of the resolution, calling for an end to the embargo. Israel and the U.S. were the only two countries who voted against the resolution. In Washington, the Office of Public Witness leads the Interfaith Working Group on Cuba and has worked to bring several important delegations from the Cuba Council of Churches to meet with Congress and administration officials. ese delegations of PC(USA) Cuban church partners were recognized by the Obama administration as a significant factor in their decision to open the relationship between the two countries and establish diplomatic ties. And with the change in administrations, the Office of Public Witness is continuing its work to end the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba. Our presence and continued advocacy with our sisters and brothers around the globe are a faithful witness for those voices in the halls of power. Catherine Gordon is the representative for international issues in the Office of Public Witness. Ryan Smith is the director of the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations. MEET CRITICAL NEEDS Support all mission co-workers: pcusa.org/donate/E132192 Kathy Melvin A Presbyterian peace delegation visited the Border Peace School in Korea's demilitarized zone last November. Left to right: the Rev Unzu Lee; the Rev. Howard Kim; Catherine Gordon, the representative for international issues in the Office of Public Witness; and Earl Arnold of the Presbyterian Peace Network for Korea.

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