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Showing posts from July, 2010

Word and deed

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July 21, 2010
Philadelphia PA

In Northeast Philadelphia, Second Mennonite Church founded Crossroad Ministries in 1965. Its purpose is to evangelize, disciple and demonstrate the Gospel in word and deed to the people of Fairhill community and beyond.

The day I was there, Miss Laura told me about the grocery bags of produce that help feed the hungry in the Fairhill community. Ron Muse, an MCC service worker serving as a prison chaplain in six local prisons, told me about his work to help transform people. He says he tells the men, "See, God put you there, now what are you going to do?"

Ron says he needs to continually preach the Good News to himself, too. As a juvenile, he was in and out of prison. He says if God can change him, God can change anybody!

Juan Marrero (left above), executive director, says Crossroads Community wants to provide tutoring, meals and other services to anyone who needs them, but these deeds need to be accompanied by words about Jesus or real change in peo…

I feel I belong

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"You have something I don't. What is a Mennonite?"
July 21, 2010 Philadelphia, PABernard Sejour, a Haitian, says he always wanted to make a difference in his country. He thought about being a news reporter or a lawyer but eventually became a human rights worker. In October 2000, he was forced to leave his country.

Bernard says he remembers Anna, a Mennonite Central Committee worker who worked for the same human rights organization he did. He noticed something different about Anna and learned she was a Mennonite.

Years later, in the United States, after he was forced out of Haiti, he tracked down Mennonites and was drawn to Anabaptist theology. After a couple of years of training at Hesston College, he has now begun a new church for Haitians in Philadelphia.

Through a Haitian Relief Fund grant from Mennonite Central Committee, Bernard works with Lutheran …

Nothing is impossible

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"I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed...nothing will be impossible for you."
- Jesus in Matthew 17:20

Washington D.C.
Monday, July 12

For 42 years, the Washington office of Mennonite Central Committee U.S. has been a presence on Capitol Hill providing and encouraging prophetic witness to the way of Christ on matters of U.S. public policy. The work of the office is guided by the Biblical vision of being restored to right relationship with God, each other and all of creation.

I spent today in D.C. getting acquainted with the work of this small but mighty staff. Its staff monitors legislation on global economic justice, militarism, Middle East, HIV/AIDS, economic justice, gun violence, immigration and from every region of the world.

With perpetual issues like Middle East policy and the military budget, said director Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach, its sometimes difficult to see short-term results.

Rachelle told us stories from Uganda, Argentina and Mozambique in pas…

Angels of grace

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As rest can heal the sores of a body and sleep restore its strength,
so may your angels of grace visit me in the night
that the senses of my soul may be born afresh.
Visit my dreams with messengers of grace, O God,
that the senses of my soul may be born again. (from Celtic Benedictions by Philip Newell)

My self-imposed five-month sabbatical ends today as I begin a new job this week as the transitional executive director for Mennonite Central Committee U.S. The time away from work has healed the sores of my body and restored my strength as surely as rest and sleep do for each of us on a daily basis.

My experiences of the last five months have been visited by many messengers of grace. I think of Weldon at St. John's Abbey, Joel and Barth in Arizona and Nevada, Lloyd and Bernie in Jamaica, Larry and Eleanor in Strasboug and a rag tag band of merry pilgrims in Scotland, Ireland and Wales. And, of course, Mim who has given me this space without one word of anxiety. This time has truly been…