Give Us Peace…Empower Us as Peacemakers

Peace means working for real solutions to bring needed change, with justice.

During Advent, Pastor Barbara Farrow of Grace Community Church preached on what it means to be a peacemaker in the world today. This applies to every level of our lives –interpersonally, in our faith communities, in our neighborhoods and internationally. The Grace Community congregation had opportunity to ask questions and gain understanding regarding the present conflict in the Middle East between Israel and Hamas. The region of Palestine has a long history of trauma and without work for real political solutions, conflict will continue. War and violence will not bring lasting peace.

A hymn sing group we meet with weekly often sings “Dona Nobis Pacem,” a Latin phrase that’s a prayer- “Give us peace.” Recently, we’ve sung two additional verses with languages spoken in the warzone of Gaza – A salaam aleikum (Arabic) and Sim shalom tova uvracha (Hebrew). As we pray for peace, we know that we are also called to be answers to our prayers as peacemakers.

Pastor Yoshua Bashizi who serves the Swahili-speaking Mission of Christ congregation, was recently pleasantly surprised when members of a group that had split off from the church years ago, returned to ask forgiveness and to request reconciliation. Tribal divisions from Africa had separated these people, but eventually the group that split off disbanded, and its leaders, who had sown discord, left the state. Pastor Yoshua’s faithful commitment to peace and unity in the Spirit is the way forward for any congregation and especially one like Mission of Christ which ministers to many who have a history of trauma related to political divisions, and even warring factions. Pastor Yoshua is working with USCIS, the national immigration service, to bring his wife Godefride from Africa to the U.S. Please pray with them.

Sometimes political divisions in our own country can blind us to the needs for compassion to which God calls us, as the prophet Micah states in chapter 6, verse 8, “to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.” Biblical justice has substance to it as in the Book of Ruth when an immigrant widow follows her widowed mother-in-law to Bethlehem, and she’s met by a community that leaves unharvested grain around the edges of the field so that there’s enough food for the poor in the community, including newcomers.

Vive is a shelter for asylum- seekers in Buffalo, where people come from around the world due to troubling situations in their home countries, often fleeing war, oppressive governments, persecution, and violence. Under the recent leadership of Matt Tice this wonderful work, in operation since the 1980s, will be moving from an inadequate building to a beautiful new spacious location on Main Street. Many volunteers including Wesleyans have been helping with the huge process of preparing for this move. For the last several years Jericho Road Community Health Center has assumed the administrative responsibility for Vive, and many of the residents also receive spiritual care. Pray for this move that Buffalo will be better positioned as a city of good neighbors to warmly welcome immigrants.

Dr. Myron and Joyce Glick, who founded Jericho Road, will be going on sabbatical for four months. Offering medical and wrap-around care services to over 20,000 patients has demonstrated practical Good Samaritan care to many in the city. Many of the patients are ones who otherwise could be affected by disparities in medical care. Advocacy for the poor continues to be the unwavering commitment of Jericho Road. As we push into peace with justice, we are often called to reckon with injustice.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

G3:28 led by former District Superintendent Richard Meeks, is based on the abolitionist history of The Wesleyan Methodist connection and Galatians 3:28—“In Christ there is no Jew or Greek, slave or citizen, male or female. All are one in Christ Jesus.” In October an inaugural Freedom tour of denominational leaders began at the Underground Railroad Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio and traveled from the Ohio River north to 19th c. sites on the Underground Railroad where Presbyterians, Wesleyan Methodists and Quakers supported freedom seekers as they courageously risked everything to escape horrendous enslavement. This tour group of Wesleyan leaders was accompanied by Rev. Kimberly Gladden and General Superintendent Emerita Jo Anne Lyon. More trips are planned for May and October 2024. If you would like to have your racial justice imagination piqued, consider this trip, and call for more info. (Rt: View from Underground Railroad house with path from Ohio River.)


Rev. Kimberly Gladden at Wesleyan pulpit in Fountain City (formerly Newport), Indiana where Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth spoke.

Next tour – May 2024
Call for more info 716-640-2238




Over the past ten years, Houghton Buffalo has offered a beautiful place for ministry of reconciliation and educational opportunity for many in the city. As we enter the final fully scheduled semester of in-person classes, please pray for students, instructors, and for Houghton administrators who will plan for future opportunities to serve.

May we be inspired by the vision of God revealed by the prophet Isaiah 2:4, “God will judge between the nations and render decisions for many countries. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation will not raise the sword against another, and never again will they train for war.” May we pray together, “Give us peace with justice. Empower us as peacemakers.” May we commit ourselves to prepare for the everlasting peace of Christ’s reign.

Steve and Ruth Strand