May 26 is Peace with Justice Sunday, one of the six United Methodist Special Sundays with offering. Peace with Justice Sunday gifts change lives in places where the joy of knowing Christ is mixed with the tragedy of violence.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bishop Nkulu Ntanda Ntambo assumed his post as a brutal civil war began in 1996. After nearly eight years of war, he helped to broker a peace settlement at a conference where 250 fighters committed not to fight again.
United Methodists in the Democratic Republic of the Congo — 2.3 million strong — received two Peace with Justice grants from the General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) to respond to the 2011 post-election violence and to teach people to share Jesus' love.
A $4,790 grant encouraged young people in the Central Congo Episcopal Area to foster reconciliation. Another grant, $4,700 to the South Congo Episcopal Area, engaged youths and their leaders to model ways to overcome violence.
The special offering benefits peace-related ministries in annual conferences, and through GBCS, which recently awarded $48,000 in grants to 14 ministries in 2013 Peace with Justice Grants.
United Methodists relate to this special Sunday by seeking peaceful solutions, creating and supporting peace-related ministries in their conference and learning about peaceful, just efforts around the world.
Your Peace with Justice Sunday offering aids disciples, young and old, who are changing lives and the world inspired by Christ's gospel of love and liberation. To read additional stories of lives changed by gifts to the Peace with Justice Sunday offering click here.
Special Sunday history
The 1980 General Conference, the denomination's highest policy-setting body, created a churchwide Peace with Justice program assigned to the General Board of Church & Society. By 1984, peace with justice ministries had sprung up throughout the church. The 1984 General Conference voted to support the program with an annual offering on World Order Sunday, established half a century ago to build recognition and support for the work of the United Nations.
The 1988 General Conference established Peace with Justice Sunday as the first Sunday after Pentecost to give churches a single, more convenient date for the offering and a name that clearly identifies the ministries it supports.
Each annual conference has a Peace with Justice coordinator who networks with coordinators in other conferences across the connection. Peace with Justice coordinators meet annually for spiritual growth, empowerment and program resourcing.
For more information and free resources, go to Overview.
Historically, Peace with Justice Sunday has been celebrated with an offering on the first Sunday after Pentecost. Congregations are encouraged to observe Peace with Justice Sunday on this date or on another appropriate to the local church. The purpose shall be to witness "to God's demand for a faithful, just, disarmed and secure world."