By Wendy Davidson, Disciples Peace Fellowship intern
In the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the protests against police brutality across the United States, the Global Ministries office has been flooded with messages of solidarity and support from partners around the world – from Palestine and Lebanon to Cuba and Puerto Rico, from Germany to South Africa to Angola to Bangladesh – expressing “unequivocal support for the Black Lives Matter movement and everyone working for racial justice in the USA, the demands of which have resonated in communities around the world” (a quote from the letter from Kairos Palestine). This bulwark of support from global partners emphasizes the mutuality of the partnerships that Global Ministries cultivates with global partners.
Global Ministries emphasizes the ministry of partnership, coming alongside global partners around the world, in order to address local issues in local ways. Even mission coworkers, one of the cornerstones of the work of Global Ministries, serve with global partners only at the request of those partners. Global Ministries’ relationships with global partners, partnerships in which mutuality runs deep, are lasting relationships. The lifespan of many partner relationships must be measured in decades, rather than weeks or months or even years. These long-term sustained relationships, characterized by the coming-alongside in the work of the local community to do justice and peace, have persisted, even as Global Ministries itself has grown and evolved over the last century of its existence through a variety of name changes and guiding principles.
This deep partnership continues to flourish even as COVID-19 makes so many relationships more difficult. While Global Ministries cannot travel to visit partners right now, partners continue to be in communication and conversation online. Even as we cannot be physically present with one another, the relationships between Global Ministries and partners continue to deepen. While Global Ministries cannot host physical mission pilgrimages at this time (not only for the safety of the pilgrims, but also for the safety of our global neighbors, where there is often not the infrastructure in place to respond to the crisis of this pandemic), Global Ministries has developed a virtual pilgrimage, enabling many who might not have been able to afford international travel the opportunity to participate in global partnership.
With everything that is going on right now in our world, in our country, and perhaps even in our own communities, it can be altogether too easy to shift all of our focus inward, to our own problems in our own communities. However, there are still so many meaningful ways to connect with the work of global partners. There are still a lot of really good and important things happening around the world that deserve our attention and care. May we take this opportunity to engage in the work of Global Ministries, and engage our communities, our country, and our world.
So how can I do that?
- Connect with the Southern Asia Initiative!
- Participate in the Cuba virtual pilgrimage!
- Bring these conversations to your time of worship! Inviting a mission coworker to come and speak (invite them to offer a sermon or maybe a moment of mission), show videos from global partners, use Global Ministries curriculum for children, youth, and adults (perhaps consider using the virtual pilgrimage as your Sunday School curriculum for a season!)
- Contact Global Ministries directly to find the right fit to get involved – there are so many different global partners in so many different places doing so many different things. Whatever the passion of you, your congregation, or your ministry, Global Ministries likely has a partner that you can connect with.
- Sign up for the mailing list! This will allow for more targeted communications, so that you can get information on advocacy opportunities or information about the ministries of partners for those regions or concerns that you’re already most invested in.