Peace & Global Witness

International Peacemaker chaplaincy program provides support for marginalized people

June 20, 2022 by Scott O'Neill

The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program is resurrecting a 40-year tradition by hosting a series of International Peacemakers to visit churches and faith organizations across the country. In- person visits, temporarily halted by the Covid pandemic the past few years, will resume this fall with up to 10 individuals itinerating across the country from September 16 through October 10. One of those peacemakers, Pastor Helivao Poget, will discuss her work as a national chaplain for the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar (FJKM), a partner church of the PC(USA).

Like many International Peacemakers who have come before her the past four decades, Poget expects to get as much in return from participating in the program as she does from offering her own personal insights to American audiences.

“I look forward to participating in the Peacemaking program and learning from others’ experiences and shared ideas,” Poget said. “I hope to get more ideas to address the challenges I will face after my visit when I return home.”

Poget founded a ministry (SAFFIFA) in 2009 within the denomination’s chaplaincy program that provides a wide range of services for marginalized communities (youth, women, migrants and developmentally challenged people) and provides young people alternatives to criminal activity, substance abuse and sex work.

“Our aim is to protect and reinsert into the community marginalized people in Madagascar, mainly in the capital city, Antananarivo,” said Poget.

During her visit to the U.S., Poget will talk about her country’s biggest challenges, which include human trafficking, domestic violence, poverty and prostitution.

“We are concerned with combatting violence against women and children, human trafficking, domestic violence and overall improving the family’s well-being. In the southern region the act of stealing an ox can provoke violence including burning homes, killing and the destruction of an entire village,” said Poget.

Poget and her fellow Peacemakers will visit congregations, mid councils (presbyteries and synods), and communities around the country to talk about their work.

Click here to learn more about the 2022 International Peacemakers and how you can invite a peacemaker to your community.

In addition, the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program began offering a virtual symposium in 2020 because of the pandemic. The virtual archive provides several pre-recorded interviews, panel discussions and presentations to connect with past International Peacemakers. View the symposium files here.

Poget is appreciative of the support provided by PC(USA), which includes a strong mission co-worker and regional liaison presence. She says they provide input and guidance on how to improve their work in the field, as well as material support and prayers.

The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program is one of the Compassion, Peace & Justice ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

Give to the Peace & Global Witness Offering to continue the valuable ministry of these International Peacemaker visits.

This was published for Presbyterian News Service on June 16, 2022.

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The Peace & Global Witness Offering draws Presbyterians together and provides exposure to active peacemakers as well as education and resources to empower congregations and individuals to become peacemakers, themselves.  These collective efforts support resources in dealing with conflict, provide nurturing reconciliation, and stand in support of our global siblings, because the peace of Christ belongs to people everywhere.