From the Worldwide Faith News archives


Date 05 May 1996 08:38:13


                      by Jerry L. Van Marter 
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y.--Swaying to the music of renowned Christian songwriters and 
performers Jim and Jean Strathdee, a record crowd of some 1,600 
Presbyterians launched the Presbyterian Peacemaking Jubilee here Aug. 12. 
     "This is the largest peacemaking conference in the history of the 
Presbyterian Church," 
 said Presbyterian Peacemaking Program coordinator the Rev. Richard Killmer 
to the enthusiastic, cheering crowd. 
     The Rev. Arthur Sundstrom, pastor of Chevy Chase (Md.) Presbyterian 
Church and conference director, said "jubilee" marks "a time of 
restoration, freedom, peace and celebration." The purpose of jubilee is not 
to ignore the omnipresence of conflict in the world, "but to witness to the 
many ways God's peace giving is present in the world and in our lives." 
     Preaching from the book of Micah, opening worship preacher the Rev. 
Joseph L. Roberts Jr. urged conference participants to be active int heir 
search for peace.  "The question is no whether we celebrated the year of 
jubilee, but what will we do in the year of jubilee," he said. 
     Roberts, who succeeded Martin Luther King, Jr., as pastor of Ebenezer 
Baptist Church in Atlanta, titled his sermon "Until None Sleep Under the 
Bridge."  In Atlanta, he noted, "lots of people sleep under bridges and 
there can be no peace in Atlanta until we bring all those out from under 
the bridges and cross them together." 
     To illustrated his point, Roberts told a story of the recent Special 
Olympics.  Several children lined up for a race and shortly after the 
start, one eight-year-old competitor fell and began to cry.  The other 
racers, rather than continuing the race, all stopped and returned to help 
their fallen foe.  They helped him up, dusted him off, "kissed it where it 
hurt," and then hand-in-hand finished the race together. 
     "The Christian calling," Roberts explained, "is not to try and win all 
the time but to help the weak and the injured among us and go on together." 
     Roberts cited Haiti and south Africa as two places where peaceful 
revolutions have held out promise for those oppressed.  He praised Jean 
Bertrand Aristide of Haiti and Nelson Mandela of South Africa as two 
examples of leaders "who follow the path of most resistance." 
     Quoting Thomas Jefferson, Roberts urged jubilee participants to 
remained steadfast in their efforts: "Don't let freedom be lost by 
negligence or misunderstanding."  After all, he concluded, "rich and poor 
stand equal before God and God prays that all will someday meet God 

For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
  Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
  phone 502-569-5504            fax 502-569-8073  
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