“Now may the Lord of peace…give you peace at all times in all ways.” — 2 Thessalonians 3:16 Sometimes it feels the world is coming at us so quickly that we don’t know which way to turn, where to look, what to do next. In a chaotic world, we find strength in knowing that God is always near. Today, we are joining in Paul’s prayer that God grant us “peace at all times, in all ways.” Peace. For our world, our family, our community, our church, and ourselves — peace at all times, in all ways. When the peace treaty was signed between Egypt and Israel in 1979, President Jimmy Carter quoted the journalist Walker Knight, saying “peace is active, not passive; peace is doing, not waiting … peace, like war, is waged.” The Peace & Global Witness Offering our church supports provides the tools and resources for us as we join together as active peacemakers. The Peace & Global Witness Offering draws Presbyterians together and provides education and exposure to those who show us how to do this work well. It allows us to create resources for dealing with conflict and nurturing reconciliation, and stand in support of our global sisters and brothers, because the peace of Christ belongs to people everywhere. It has helped support our church partners in Madagascar recover from years of destructive development. Scriptural resources helped congregations, like the one in Old Bergen, New Jersey, find common ground with neighbors of many faiths, bringing their children together to learn from one another and to build a peaceful future. And the whole church joins together, through this Offering, to work for an end to all forms of violence and injustice. We will collect the offering on October 14. Twenty-five percent of this Offering will go to Albany Presbytery, joining with other congregations in our area to support peacemaking work in our region. The second 25% of this Offering stays with our congregation, so that we can commit ourselves to active peacemaking. The Mission Committee decided that this is what our church will do this year. Our 25% of the offering will be given to the Malala Fund. This was established by young Malala Yousafzi to promote education for children, especially girls, around the world. Born in Pakistan in 1997, Malala attended school until the Taliban took over the region of her village. They closed schools for girls and punished teachers. Malala spoke to agents and in 2012 was shot in the head by a Taliban supporter. Recovering, she determined to continue to speak out for children’s education, especially for young girls. She helped start the Malala Fund to support such efforts worldwide. In 2014, at only 17 years old, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts. Her funds has been teaching and touching young lives around the world. The other 50% of this Offering supports the active work for peace being done by Presbyterians everywhere. As Presbyterians, we claim Jesus Christ as Prince of Peace and pattern our lives in the compassion, kindness and grace that he shows us. Let Us Pray ~ O God, transform lives through our work for peace, with the tools you have given us. Together, in the Spirit of God, let us work to break the power of hate and heal the wounds of violence and division. Join us together through this Offering to proclaim that it is boundless peace you offer. May it burst through the shackles of time and expectation. May it quiet the anxiety of each believer, joining us together to boldly pray, and boldly take action for God’s peace — at all times in all ways. Amen. Rev. Bill Schram began his ministry with Westminster in March and is the current Interim Minister. Bill attended McCormick seminary in Chicago and met his wife Jenny there. They have served as co-pastors and in separate positions. He has served churches in urban, near suburb, small town, county seat towns in various positions such as pastor, associate pastor, interim pastor, and hospital chaplain. He and Jenny have two natural and one foster daughter. Delightfully, they now have a granddaughter to enjoy.