Welcome to the October issue of PeaceSigns! We've got a full boat for you this month, lots of great writing about peace that covers a wide variety of issues and perspectives. I want to say thanks to our contributors who make PeaceSigns possible every month. Their thoughtful voices and reflections challenge and nourish us in ways of peace that aren't always easy to find in the vast sea of websites, blogs and other media available today.
Dwelling in the Word
by Sherah-Leigh Gerber
Nearly a year ago I was sitting in a beautiful room, glorious fall sunlight illuminated the space; leaves in aflame in reds and golds hung from trees and littered the deck and ground just below the windows. I was with a group of new friends-Kingdom co-workers-at the Constituency Leaders Council meeting.<read more>
During our Dwelling in the Word time, we were focused on the passage for Convention 2013 from Ephesians 2:14-22. I found the exchange of ideas-what stands out, what strikes you as new-to be so invigorating. We really do each bring our own context and bias to a passage. Hearing what was significant for these fellow believers at different stages of life (an empty-nester, a new retiree, a seasoned pastor), triggered interesting discussions and new flashes of insight. I was bubbling over with ideas and applications; something within was coming alive while studying scripture in this way.
Church leaders and grassroots action
by Andre Gingerich Stoner
After years resisting the draft, witnessing at nuclear weapons sites, and engaged in local peace witness as a pastor, I now find myself in a denominational staff and leadership role. This has led me to reflect on the important roles that both grassroots initiatives and church leaders play as we follow Jesus and pray and work for his kingdom of justice and peace.<read more>
St. Stephen and nonviolent communication
by Berry Friesen
Google "nonviolent communication" and nearly 500,000 internet references appear at your fingertips. Google "compassionate communication" and you'll find 150,000 more.<read more>
As most readers of PeaceSigns may already know, these phrases refer to a manner of speaking designed to elicit compassion and minimize conflict between individuals and groups.
October marks the unfortunate second anniversary of the cholera outbreak in Haiti, a disease that had not been seen in the country for a century. While the people of Haiti continue to recover from the January 2010 earthquake, the outbreak of cholera represented another blow to Haiti's long term development.<read more>
In March, God came to visit our family disguised as a two-day old baby. This child's eyes and smile and laughter offer all of us a glimpse of grace in the midst of unspeakable heartbreak. His name is Emanuel which means "God is with us;" we call him Manny. The circumstances surrounding his arrival in our home are a sobering reminder as to why Alterna is called to offer acts of mercy, compassion, and hospitality in what are heart-wrenching realities that are now confronting vulnerable children.<read more>
According to the most recent US census report, there are 146 million Americans living in poverty. The Bible makes it clear that God is concerned for the poor and expects us, as individuals, churches, and nations to provide for the poor. This includes providing for immediate material needs as well as for developmental needs that enable individuals to provide for themselves and to make a contribution to the community and to others who are in need.<read more>
When I found the chest stored in an old building on the premises of the Rolling Ridge Study Retreat Community where I lived, it was a little beat up but still in good shape. I asked the previous owner, who lived next door to me, if I could fix it up and put it to good use. I painted the hinges and metal corners gold and touched up the black exterior. I made sure I did not paint over the name and address.<read more>
Paul Peachey. Japan.