Next week I will be going to Philadelphia for the peace gathering there: Heeding God’s Call. There’s never a bad time to reflect on God’s call to peace and discuss ways in which we can be involved in working alongside that mission, but it seems especially timely considering the recent events in Israel and elsewhere in the world:
Members of the Historic Peace Churches planning this gathering have a growing sense that the Spirit is stirring people of faith to renew, revitalize and bring together efforts to seek peace amidst our nations violent responses to international terrorism and the violence in institutions and neighborhoods. These people of faith must seek nonviolent ways to confront this violence, terrorism and fear. The challenge is to find new ways to address violence through acts of goodness, compassion and honest efforts to understand and meet the legitimate needs of others.
I’ve not gone to conferences like these in the past and wouldn’t have gone to this one (due to time and money) but was invited to be a delegate for the Northwest Friends Yearly Meeting. Fortunately enough, I still fit the bill as a “young adult” and was able to get some financial help as well! I’m excited to hear Ched Myers speak for the first time, and I’m planning on taking the new anniversary edition of his commentary on the Gospel of Mark “Binding the Strong Man” for reading during the trip. I am also excited to see a number of Quaker friends including Paul Anderson, Thomas Swain and Colin Saxton. I anticipate it to not only be good for meeting people involved in peace work around the world but a great time to worship and learn more about what God’s Spirit is calling our generation to:
The Gathering will guide participants in exploring and celebrating together the spiritual grounding of our individual and collective peace work and witness as seen in the life and teachings of Jesus. A combination of worship, plenary sessions, workshops, sharing in small groups, and panel discussions, will explore the faith basis of our peace testimonies; raise up current peace work and witness; and examine how we might better support and engage each other in ongoing peace work, as well as in creating new opportunities to witness together for a more peaceful world. We anticipate a total of 600 participants, approximately half of whom will be from the Historic Peace Churches and half from other Christian traditions.
The Gathering is envisioned as a place where participants will worship and work together, under the guidance and leading of the Holy Spirit, to develop new bonds, new ideas, and new energy for the work of building peace in themselves, their cities, the nation and the world. The Gathering on Peace will work to produce outcomes, including projects, suggestions, and actions that enlarge our peace concerns. We hope to have a declaration at the conclusion of the Gathering, as well.
You can find out more here about the gathering and if you’re planning on going let me know!