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Missionary journalist, photographer speaks in region

The Rev. Paul Jeffery, a photographer, journalist and United Methodist missionary, will share a digital presentation of his photography and commentary on the scenes he has witnessed in his work with those who live in poverty around the world at four Inland District churches.

He will speak at 10 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 31; at Cheney United Methodist Church, at 5:50 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 31, at Bonners Ferry United Methodist; at 6 p.m., Monday, Nov. 1, at Manito United Methodist, 3220 S. Grand, and at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 2, at Spokane Valley United Methodist, 115 N. Raymond.

Paul, a United Methodist Global Ministries missionary, writes about the work of the church around the world as senior correspondent for Response, the magazine of United Methodist Women.

He also covers emergencies for Action by Churches Together (ACT Alliance), a global alliance of churches responding to disasters.

A native of Vancouver, Wash., he is an ordained elder in the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference.

Before his current assignment, Paul and his wife, the Rev. Lyda Pierce, served as missionaries in Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Honduras for 20 years.

Paul and his family moved to Eugene, Ore., in 2004, but his writing continues to focus on similar themes, including how Christians and Christian communities struggle for justice and peace in the midst of repression, violence, and rapid economic and social change.

Paul has filed stories from more than 65 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia, writing about everything from hurricanes to health care, from massacres to indigenous rights, from refugees to ecumenism.

He's had what he terms the “privilege of witnessing the poor become subjects of their own history rather than the objects of someone else's history.”

“I often write about what people of faith are doing to empower people at the margins to live the abundant life that's promised to them in the Gospel. I focus on why they're doing that and what the consequences of that work may be for ordinary women and men in the pews,” said Paul.

“When I do that well, people in the global North begin to understand how we are intrinsically linked to our sisters and brothers in the global South, not just because they share the same Gospel, but also because they share an international economic system that manufactures poverty and injustice for the majority.”

Paul's photos have appeared in church and ecumenical publications, as well as in major daily newspapers and such magazines as Sierra, National Geographic Explorer and Time Asia.

Paul’s photos have also been used by organizations ranging from the World Bank, World Health Organization and UNESCO to the UN Population Fund.

A book with his photos from the Darfur region of Sudan, Where Mercy Fails, was published in 2009.

Paul has interviewed hundreds of newsmakers from Jimmy Swaggart to Evo Morales, and has been interviewed by journalists from Bill Moyers to Amy Goodman.

For information, call 838-3085.