Holiness in our Midst: Session 80

Holiness in our Midst


When and where have you been a witness to transformed community?

It is no secret that our political system is deeply divided, “wretchedly so,” according to a recent cable news commentator. It takes enormous energy just to engage in everyday conversations across differing viewpoints, let alone create events and make decisions that awaken entire communities or congregations. Therefore, in the spirit of continuing Resurrection Life after Easter Sunday, it is helpful to share examples of transformative community building. Lately an event keeps resurfacing as I look for models powerful enough to inform and influence the current partisan debates…

Ever see an organization being birthed? It is something to behold! I was in Toronto in the early 2000s as a member of the Program Committee on Education for Mission, a ministry of the National Council of Churches. (I was coordinator for mission connections for the Church of the Brethren.) Our group was invited to the ceremonial dedication of a new Canadian organization, KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives. Ten struggling inter-church coalitions were blended into one new organization in a church service conducted in both French and English. Liturgical dancers held strips of cloth representing the entities that could no longer exist as fund-raising entities on their own. The dancers wove the strips of cloth into a tapestry that was placed on the altar and dedicated. It was a bittersweet occasion because there was loss of administrative personnel and individual identity from the disbanding of previous coalitions. But there was the joy of survival for the joint venture, administered by the United Church of Canada. KAIROS has thrived; it campaigns for human rights and social justice in the areas of prophetic witness; ecological justice; and gender, migrant and Indigenous rights. Its formation is an example of a successful holy compromise!

To research this example of rebirth, I looked up the current KAIROS organization online. In a full circle experience, I came across a beautiful fund-raising video by Jennifer Henry, executive director, inviting persons to look for evidences of new life all around us. Her documented examples were from nature and groups fighting against the odds for social change. (See kairoscanada.org.)

Story Circle Prompt: Where do you see examples of rebirth and new life in this post-Easter season?

1. Read the above reflection. In your journal, list energizing personal examples of mini-resurrections, drawing from your Lenten experience and the spring season.

1. Read aloud Session LXXX.
2. Ask each person to answer the Story Circle Prompt.

[View Past Sessions Here]

Note: Holiness in Our MidstSharing Our Stories to Encourage and Heal is a monthly on-line feature created by Janis Pyle to facilitate sharing of our personal experiences, thoughts, beliefs, and spiritual practices with one another, especially through stories. Barriers are broken down when we begin to see all persons, even those with whom we disagree ideologically, as sacred and constantly attended to by a loving Creator. Each column is accompanied by a “story circle” prompt and study guides for personal and group reflection. To share your stories, contact Hannah Button-Harrison at communications@nplains.org. Janis Pyle can be reached at janispyle@yahoo.com.

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