No matter where we live, events of the world reach us instantaneously. Whether we are personally effected by acts of violence, natural disasters, injustice, or tragedy, we are each touched by the ramifications of another occurrence of brokenness in our world.
As Christians we are called to be bridge builders of peace, voices for the voiceless, and agents of reconciliation. Our church communities respond instantaneously in times of crisis, and we are hungry to learn how to do more. Whether individually or corporately, by collaborating with each other we can make a difference.
There are two “resources” that will soon be available as new tools for our individual and corporate toolboxes for proclaiming peace, justice, and reconciliation – to be agents of hope.
The first is a book which will be published in February 2015. Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace: Challenging the Epidemic of Gun Violence is a collection of essays, prayers, processes, and resources written by leaders (bishops, priests, deacons, and lay persons) in the Episcopal Church. Each chapter offers reflection questions to begin the conversation in small groups on the issue of gun violence in our communities. Read the table of contents here. The book includes an Action Guide to guide us in putting our beliefs into action. Proceeds of the book will go to Bishops United Against Gun Violence. Pre-orders your copy now here. Read a news release from the Anglican Communion here.
I am also honored to be asked to offer my reflections about how we can reclaim the Gospel of Peace at this year’s Christian Formation Conference at Kanuga (June 8-12, 2015). The year’s theme is Hope in the Midst of Crisis: From Tragedy to Healing Through Forgiveness with keynote speaker Lyndon Harris, chaplain Bishop James Magness, and musician Martha Bassett. A remarkable line-up of 40 workshops and leaders will be offered throughout the week with topics as diverse as creating an emergency preparedness manual, learning to live in the now, and how to use outreach with children and youth as a tool for healing after tragedy strikes.
How do you make your parish a safe haven when disaster strikes? How do you prepare yourself for the psychological impacts on your parish? How do you lead your parish to forgive? How do you teach forgiveness in a society focused on retaliation?
No matter your ministry: pastoral care, ministry with children or youth, social justice, advocacy, outreach, Christian formation – this conference will feed your mind, body, and soul and give you the tools to bring them home to your local faith community. Bring a parish team and register today!