As more and more young men and women return home from war, the Mennonite church is faced with more of those people entering their congregations. As a peace church should we not be working toward helping all people find peace, including our veterans returning home from war?
Read a reflection on the training by Pastor Chris Nickels at Spring Mount Mennonite Church here.
As a peace church that speaks out against, acts against, and prays against violence, But as the men and women who experience that violence return home, our mandate grows to include helping them find peace and healing.
On Sunday evening November 10th, a group of people from the community and from Doylestown congregation gathered to reflect on the painful parts of life and to seek hope in God’s Presence.
Chaplain George Lindsey of the local VFW, spoke honestly and with vulnerability about the depression he felt while deployed in Iraq, as well as the PTSD he struggled to overcome when he arrived back home. He also spoke with great confidence about God’s comfort and the many ways God has healed and continues to heal him. George led us in singing “Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand!”
Ron and Robin Miller also spoke about the hope they find in Jesus as they continue to grieve the loss of their son, Brett. They read from Psalm 22, “from birth I was cast upon you, God. Do not be far from me, for trouble is near.”
In the candlelight and silence, with broken pieces of slate in our hands to symbolize how broken we sometimes feel, we waited on God. We could hear one another weeping. And then we prayed that God in Jesus would make all things well, even in the midst of suffering.
After the service was over, many of us stayed to talk and pray with one another. It was a healing time of honesty and hope, this beautiful evening that broke down barriers between “church” and “community.”
Minister Ari S. Merretazon and Deacon James Abram of Pointman Soldiers Heart Ministry describe their day-to-day work as “vulnerable veterans helping vulnerable veterans.” Today they shared from their personal experiences as veterans on a path of healing and from their engagement with many other vets they have met, befriended, and supported through experiences of isolation, pain, and injustice from systems where they expected to find help. Listen to the podcast and learn how you might become a participant in the well-being and just treatment of those in our neighborhoods who have been deeply wounded by war. Ari’s PowerPoint.
Following the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Rev. Kelly Denton-Borhaug, Associate Professor and Chair of the Religion Department at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa., began to investigate the links between Christian understandings of sacrifice and U.S. militarism and war.
This morning, Denton-Borhaug spoke at the Pastors and CRM Leaders’ Breakfast about the topic of her book, U.S. War-culture, Sacrifice and Salvation. A “war-culture,” said Denton-Borhaug, is the increasing interpenetration of the ethos and practices of war into ever-increasing facets of daily human life. Drawing on information from economists, sociologists, and pop culture, Denton-Borhaug gave illustrations of how this war-culture has developed and overdeveloped, especially in the years since 9/11, and how the language of sacrifice fosters what can be considered a national “war religion.”
Peace advocates must talk about and study the reality of war-culture in the United States, Denton-Borhaug encouraged, to begin to diffuse the mystery that surrounds it. This will be the topic of the upcoming Winter Peace Retreat, sponsored by the Franconia and Eastern District Conferences’ Peace & Justice Committee.
Listen to the podcast from this morning’s breakfast and view the PowerPoint presentation, which includes additional information and statistics beyond what Denton-Borhaug covered in her presentation. Contact Kelly.