July 08, 2021 | by Lucia 'Olive
“Becoming Peacemakers in a Culture of Violence” is an 8-hour Mission-u study for youth to be held via Zoom. Mission-u is a collaborative educational effort of the UMW and the Annual Conference.
The class is four two-hour sessions from Friday, August 13, through Sunday, August 15. Sessions are Aug. 13, 6-8pm; Aug. 14, 10am-noon and 1-3pm; and Aug. 15, 9:30-11:30am. For more information and to register, please go to the UMW Mission-u website: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMrc-qrrjsoG9XNMRSsjIb0v9lDCkiTSv56.
Youth ages 12-18 are invited to participate. Register by July 10 to ensure your space.
Matthew 5:9 says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” When reading this part of the Beatitudes, we learn that there is a job to be done for a reward to be received, hence the call to be “peacemakers” in order to be called “children of God.” But it is not always this easy and straightforward to be peacemakers in order to be children of God. If we read this verse in reverse then perhaps we can find a clearer picture of who we are and what we are being called to do. For example, as children of God, we are to work for peace.
In our world today, violence is affecting all our lives and especially our children and young people. The harsh reality is that they are growing up surrounded by and experiencing violence in their neighborhoods, in their schools, and in their homes. Statistics show that in 2019 one in five youth reported being bullied at school, while 34% of children under 12 years old and 66% of youth 12-17 experienced physical assault. In 2017, one in four girls and one in six boys had been sexually victimized before the age of 18.
As United Methodists, we should be concerned about these statistics. What does it mean and what will it take to be peacemakers in our world today? Why is it important that we United Methodists be engaged and involved in taking on this task seriously? I believe as children of God, we are compelled to counter violence in our communities and in our world with actions rooted in the love of God, love of neighbor, and love of self.
Come let us explore and discover together what it means to counter violence and how to make, build and sustain peace. Part of this study will include exploring why violence exists.
This study is important because we are called to transform a hurting world and to be in community and learning with youth across our conference. The hope is that the study will help clarify life’s purpose with regard to violence.
By Lucia ‘Olive, Youth leader, Hillsdale UMC, and youth coordinator for United Methodist Women