What a wonderful Easter celebration last weekend. From the first words of greeting offered by one of our youth in the memorial garden before dawn to the last note of the Hallelujah Chorus sung by the choir as the clock struck noon, it was just a fabulous day. Christ is risen indeed! If you were not able to be with us, you can catch the message from last Sunday
This coming Sunday promises to be a very special one. The Rev. Dr. Gary Mason, a Methodist clergyman from Northern Ireland, will be our guest preacher. Catherine and I have had the privilege of getting to know Gary over the past year as part of a clergy cohort that worked with him to develop greater awareness and skills around the subjects of peace-building and reconciliation. Gary has played an instrumental role in the Northern Irish Peace Process, having facilitated significant agreements with paramilitary groups on both sides of the conflict to reduce the threat of violence. His expertise and track record in such matters has caused him to be highly sought after in other national and international arenas to help facilitate peace-building.
Gary's theme for preaching this weekend is a timely one for our own national and ecclesial context: "Being a Critical Friend in Times of Deep Conflict." Speaking out of his own experience, his message is sure to challenge all of us on how we can better engage and even develop friendships with people across differences of political, ideological, and theological perspectives. I encourage you not only to be there yourselves but also to invite a friend or neighbor. This is a great weekend to encourage someone new to come and visit.
Gary now devotes himself full-time to the work of helping others navigate peace-building and reconciliation in their own settings. Your gift
here to this week's mission box will support this work through the non-profit organization, Rethinking Conflict.