Joining Hands Against Hunger

Nineteenth Edition, March 2012

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by Mark Strothmann, Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy JH Coordinator,

Joining Hands in the Presbytery Giddings-Lovejoy has been busy with several major events.

Vigil in solidarity with the people of Peru

When our partners in Peru asked us to join with them in a vigil in response to the situation in La Oroya, we jumped into action. We held a vigil on March 22 from 6-8 pm, the same time as the vigil in Lima. We gathered at Westminster Presbyterian Church in St. Louis and began with half an hour of Peruvian songs about the environment from a CD given to us by Archbishop Barreto.

Mark Miller, Pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church, opening the vigil






The vigil service itself included prayers, scripture reading, a celebration of International Water Day, and a Commissioning Service for our delegation going to Peru in April. We then gathered for a time of fellowship, sharing of resources, and writing letters to the Peruvian Ambassador to the US about La Oroya.

Ecumenical Advocacy Days

The next day, March 23, four members of our action team were in Washington, D.C. for the Compassion, Peace, and Justice Training Day a PC(USA) event, and Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD) an event sponsored by over 50 religious organizations committed to social justice. Over 750 people were in Washington to attend workshops, learn about critical issues, and visit the offices of our senators and representatives. Lobby Day was Monday, March 26, and members of Joining Hands joined other citizens to visit the offices of Senators Blunt and McCaskill from Missouri, Senators Durbin and Kirk from Illinois, and several congressman.

Muriel Stevens with Congressman Russ Carnahan of St. Louis, in his office in Washington, D.C.


A personal highlight for me was when Murial Stevens and I had an opportunity to visit our Congressman Russ Carnahan from St. Louis. We asked him to sign onto a letter with other representatives to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The letter asks her to oppose the strong-arm business tactics of the Renco Group, the owners of the Metallurgical Complex in La Oroya.

2012 Partnership visit to Peru

Five of us will be visiting Peru from April 14-22, 2012. Four are from our Presbytery and one from Presbytery of Hudson River Valley where they are considering establishing a partnership with Joining Hands Peru. We are planning to be in La Oroya for an afternoon to visit our partners there. We ask your prayers, not only for our safe travel, but most importantly for the health and well-being of the children of La Oroya.

God’s Creation, Our Health: Taking Action Together

This four-session study was produced by the Office of Child Advocacy in partnership with the Office of Environmental Ministries and Jed Koball, mission co-worker and companionship facilitator for Joining Hands Against Hunger Peru.

Use it with children to explore what our faith has to say about environmental stewardship. Following the lead of CAMBIALO, a group of concerned and active young people in Peru, they will learn how to speak out about contamination of the environment and what it does to children’s health and how to take action to protect God’s creation and children’s health.

The National Evangelical Council of Peru (CONEP) issued a pronouncement on March 1, 2012 entitled “For Life, Health, and Dignified Work in La Oroya.” In solidarity with them, we make the same affirmations:

“The National Evangelical Council of Peru in expresses its pastoral concern in the face of the continued disregard for our brothers and sisters of La Oroya by the Metallurgical-Mining Company Doe Run Peru. Therefore, we express the following:

1. It is outrageous that a company, that has continually not met its environmental obligations and responsibilities and that has contaminated the air and the soils for many years, is now requesting a third extension to its Environmental Adequacy and Management Program (PAMA) in order to restart its operations. This is morally irresponsible as it is a disregard for the health and dignity of the people of La Oroya and the workers of the Metallurgical Complex.”



Isaiah 61: 1-2

61The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; 2to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;


PRAYER: You give us prophets, holy God, to cry out for justice and mercy.
Open our ears to hear them, and to follow the truth they speak,
lest we support injustice to secure our own well-being.
Give prophets the fire of your Word, but love as well.
Though they speak for you, may they know that they stand with us before you,
and have no Messiah other than your Son, Jesus Christ, the Lord of all. Amen.


Therefore, we express the following:
“2. We believe that having to make a choice between health or work, as has been posited by several political leaders in order to resolve the problem, is not only irresponsible but also perverse, because what is at play is the life of people that the State has an obligation to defend above any other private economic interest.”



Jeremiah 30: 12-13, 17-20a

12For thus says the Lord: Your hurt is incurable, your wound is grievous. 13There is no one to uphold your cause, no medicine for your wound, no healing for you. 17For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, says the Lord, because they have called you an outcast: “It is Zion; no one cares for her!”18Thus says the Lord: I am going to restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob, and have compassion on his dwellings; the city shall be rebuilt upon its mound, and the citadel set on its rightful site. 19Out of them shall come thanksgiving, and the sound of merrymakers. I will make them many, and they shall not be few; I will make them honored, and they shall not be disdained. 20Their children shall be as of old, their congregation shall be established before me;


PRAYER: Almighty God, in giving us dominion over things on earth, you made us co-workers in your creation. Give us wisdom and reverence to use the resources of nature, so that no one may suffer from our abuse of them, and that generations yet to come may continue to praise you for your bounty; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Therefore, we express the following:
“3. We hold that the reactivation of the Metallurgical Complex is possible only with the completion of all commitments of the PAMA, which assure life, health, and dignified work.”



Isaiah 32: 14-18

14For the palace will be forsaken, the populous city deserted; the hill and the watchtower will become dens forever, the joy of wild asses, a pasture for flocks; 15until a spirit from on high is poured out on us, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is deemed a forest. 16Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field. 17The effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. 18My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.


PRAYER: Lord God, with your Son you made heaven and earth, and through him you continue to accomplish your purpose for creation. Make us witnesses to your truth and instruments of your peace, that all may know you are the God of justice, and trust your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.


“Lastly, we commit ourselves, as churches and in abidance to our Christian option for justice and truth, to intercede to God and furthermore to be vigilant so that the authorities may have the moral fortitude to reach a solution that will provide for the people of La Oroya, especially the children, a life without environmental contamination nor disregard for their rights.”



Luke 4: 16-21

16When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: 18“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”


UNISON PRAYER: Lord Christ, at times we are like strangers on this earth, taken aback by all the violence, the harsh oppositions. Like a gentle breeze, you breathe upon us the Spirit of peace. Transfigure the deserts of our doubts, and so prepare us to be bearers of reconciliation wherever you place us, until the day when a hope of peace dawns in our world. Amen.

PRAYERS reprinted by permission from Book of Common Worship, Software Edition,

© 1993, 1995 Westminster John Knox Press.

Presbyterian Campus Ministry Peru Team brings home La Oroya mural

After an assault while trying to paint a mural on the students and leaders of the Presbyterian Campus Ministry, mission workers of Joining Hands Network Peru, and the children of Cambialo and Red de Jovenes Ambientalistas, the Presbyterian Campus Ministry Peru Team decided to do the same mural in the United States. The mural was done on multiple canvas boards so the boards can be shipped to La Oroya, Peru to be presented to the children of Cambialo and Red de Jovenes Ambientalistas. This is the before and after process. Enjoy!

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