Colombia Accompaniment Report

Colombia Accompaniment Report: Development, Colombian Style

In their third report, Ivan and John share on some IPC workshops and conversations around development: Transformation is possible through long-term investments and relationships. We are witnessing such relationship commitments in the IPC every day. The more we live, love, and learn from each other, the more likely we are to be transformed into God’s dream for us.

Colombia Accompaniment Report: Educating for Peace

In their second report, Ivan and John reflect on the Presbyterian Church of Colombia's role in educating for peace in a context of violence. Peace education happens in many places. Including in schools. The Colegio Americano and the Universidad Reformada, both under IPC direction, have incorporated peace education into their curriculum and their educational philosophy.

Colombia Accompaniment Report: Tierra Grata (Pleasant Land)

In their first report, John and Ivan reflect on visiting a transitional normalization zone in the Colombian countryside. The FARC, whose identifying initials mean Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, has redefined itself as a political party, the party for Common Alternative Revolutionary Force. ZVTN’s were established to facilitate the demilitarization of FARC and are now helping former guerrillas to reintegrate into civilian life.

Colombia Accompaniment Report: Surprise!

In their final report, Cathy & Peter Surgenor reflect some on all they have learned about the IPC and Uraba region: On an accompaniment experience like ours in Colombia reality turned out to be different from our imagination, early research, briefings and first impressions. As we reflect on our time in the small city of Apartadó, Colombia with the Presbytery of Urabá, we realized that much of what we thought we knew was just wrong.

Colombia Accompaniment Report: An Amazing & Creative Mixture of Two Centuries

Cathy and Peter Surgenor

February 15, 2018

Colombia Accompaniment Report: The IPC: A Voice for Peace and Reconciliation

In their fourth report, Cathy and Peter Surgenor reflect on the Presbyterian Church of Colombia's commitment to be a voice for peace and reconciliation: "We urge all people, political leaders, parties, representatives of civil society, and churches, to set aside a spirit of defensiveness and to participate in the construction of a true and lasting peace.” Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Colombia Accompaniment Report: Many Visits, One Theme

In their third report, Cathy and Peter Surgenor share a bit about hearing stories in the communities they visited. The violence for the past 30+ years has had a great impact on the lives of these families as well as on the country. We would sit down to talk and there would be gentle efforts to understand our limited español. But quickly the conversations would get deeper as our hosts began to tell their stories.

Colombia Accompanier Report: Saving the Church

There are two stories about an iglesia in the Humanitarian Zone. Maybe elements of both stories are true. When the plantation masters were departing, they tore down all the buildings. One story says that the women took up machetes and sticks and stood around the iglesia (where gas was already spread on the ground) and said, “You will need to kill us in order to burn this iglesia.” The other story says that the women gathered inside the iglesia and shouted out, “You must kill us to burn this iglesia.” So the presence of this building is an important statement for the community.

Colombia Accompaniment Program: World Council of Churches Pilgrimage for Peace Comes to Apartadó to Honor Asesinados

By the grace of God, we were able to join the Pilgrimage of World Council of Churches (WCC) delegates to honor the work of two human rights workers (Mario Castaño and Hernán Bedoya) who were killed in December 2017. We met the families of these men and were able to join them in their grief. Both the PCUSA and PPF condemned these killings so we were standing to witness these statements of condemnation. The purpose of this pilgrimage is to give voice to the people most affected by the struggle for human rights and land rights.

Colombia Accompaniment Report: Fundacion Semilleros de Paz SHALOM

There is a small social service project connected to the 3rd Presbyterian Church of Barranquilla called Sowers of Peace.  What began with half a dozen 5-7 year olds 6 years ago, is now a program of over 30 children, from 5-15 years old.  The children come faithfully after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and again on Saturday and Sunday for recreation, music, artistry, and Bible study.  Overall, this is a formation project.  The leader of the foundation, Catalina Bernal, is specific about the mission.  “Why are we here?” she asks the

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