A Moment for Mission
“When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then … joint heirs with Christ.” — Romans 8:15b-17a, NRSV
When Mark Harrison retired from the General Board of Church and Society last November, he left behind a long legacy of work for peace and justice in almost every corner of the world.
As Peace with Justice director, Harrison helped raise millions of dollars across the church through Peace with Justice Sunday, one of the Special Sundays of the denomination.
That money is essential for keeping the church’s voice strong in the push for an end to the nuclear arms race and the use of war as an instrument of national foreign policy, said Jim Winkler, former general secretary of the United Methodist agency.
“In my memories, I can see the excitement of Mark when you discuss issues that need to be dealt with,” said Bishop Mande Muyombo, North Katanga Episcopal Area.
Harrison’s work took him to many countries of Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Asia, as well as many areas within the United States.
“The greatest thing the church has given me was an opportunity to see the world and work for justice in God’s world,” Harris said.
United Methodists observe Peace with Justice Sunday on the first Sunday after Pentecost. Pentecost celebrates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, calling for God’s shalom. On this special Sunday, we witness to God’s demand for a faithful, just, disarmed and secure world.
Our generous gifts to the special offering enrich peace with justice work at home and around the globe.
When United Methodists gather for worship, we often have a special time to “pass the peace.” We say, “May the peace of Christ be with you” and the other person replies, “And also with you.”
Did you know that passing the peace started right after Jesus’ resurrection? In the Gospel of John (20:19-29), the risen Christ greeted his disciples three times with these words, “Peace be with you.”
How can children promote peace? Here are some ideas:
Do random acts of kindness for family, friends and school helpers.
Help people in need in your community.
Solve problems by talking together, not with fighting or harsh words.
Take a stand against bullying.
We can share peace every day by being kind and thinking first of others.
Loving God, through our Peace with Justice Sunday gifts, empower us to witness with our spirit that, truly, we are your children and joint heirs with Christ. We love you. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Pentecost — God of wind and fire, breathe your Holy Spirit over us again this day. Help us to better hear one another and untangle the differences we have allowed to divide us. May your Spirit give us the power to be the church you had hoped we would be, one body, one people seeking to build your beloved community of justice, mercy, and hope. As we bring our tithes and offering to you this day, set us on fire once again. Fill us with your power; in Christ, we pray. Amen. (Acts 2:1-21)
When Mark Harrison joined the staff of the General Board of Church and Society in 1991, he never dreamed he would have relationships with members of Congress, attend meetings at the White House and the United Nations and have the opportunity to represent The United Methodist Church with many government agencies.
The Rev. Susan-Henry Crowe, general secretary of the Board of Church and Society, said Harrison, who retired in November 2021, is a “trusted and authentic colleague” both with the staff and with many people who work on Capitol Hill.
“Mark has connected with congressional members and their staffs, promoting the United Methodist Social Principles on a variety of issues, including voting rights, civil and human rights, peace with justice, health care and now COVID-19 relief—as well as opening doors for United Methodists in many countries in Africa and Asia and Europe,” she added.
Your generous gifts on Peace with Justice Sunday continue Harris’s legacy, nurturing United Methodist witness around the world. Thank you!
Adapted from “Harrison Leaves Legacy of Work in Peace and Justice,” Kathy Gilbert, Dec. 1, 2021. Used by permission.