I am happy and very hopeful because of what is happening in La Habana. Although the signing of the end of the armed conflict between the government of Colombia and the FARC-EP doesn’t guarantee peace, the possibility that one of the armed groups disarms is a great reason for joy and hope. The task that remains for us is to incorporate this experience of peace with the other guerrilla group, ELN.
Are there any more words that can be written or spoken after the violence of the past ten days? Certainly none that can bring back Anton Sterling or Philando Castile or Delrawn Small or Sandra Bland; none that can crumble this violent system of white supremacy to its foundations overnight; none that can heal the physical, emotional, and mental wounds caused by the systemic and systematic violence that we have seen and remembered in the last week. There are no words that can right these injustices, yet words that change minds and actions that challenge systems are the effective and nonviolent tools we have to dismantle the system of white supremacy upon which the United States is built, the system that denies that Black Lives Matter.
I am disappointed that the overture for fossil fuel divestment did not pass through GA 222. We have an urgent call to stand alongside those struggling to survive the devastating ramifications of the oil and gas industries. I, along with my delegation team and others in the PCUSA, will work to continue the call for divestment. It's difficult for me to not feel like we have failed our friends - family - who are impacted daily. Those whose livelihood, water, and life have been compromised by corporations invested in fossil fuel. Those who so vulnerably shared with me the hardships and death in their community revolving around oil excavation. But, this is still the beginning.
In a world that is fraught with conflict and derision, how can the church be a global witness to the peace of Christ? While observing Committee 12, Peacemaking and International Affairs, I saw commissioners, advisory delegates, and advocates grapple with this central question as it pertained to contemporary issues. From Korea to the Congo, the committee passed overtures that call upon church, corporate, and government bodies to support the dignity and welfare for all involved in conflict regions. Committee 12 also passed two PPF-supported Commissioner's Resolutions that uphold the principles and ministry of Sanctuary, a movement to advocate for the rights of international refugees (12-12 and 12-13).
The 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) was one of the most positive church experiences I’ve had in a long time. There were moments of disappointment and frustration, as always, but I sit several days after closing worship with a sense of hope and deep gratitude for the people and the work of the PC(USA). I also sit ready to get back to work (after a brief rest, which I hope you all are taking as well), because we as PPF have a special role after this GA that could have just changed the way our denomination engages with peace and nonviolence.