Can ethnically diverse churches come together and find common ground to do missional work together? From January 31st to February 1st, ReconciliAsian collaborated with Pacific Southwest Mennonite Conference to explore what it means to be the “People of God: Discovering Identity, Creating Community, and Doing Mission Together.“
One of the ways to find commonality with one another, Sue led an exercise where she asked all participants to line up according where they saw themselves in the US immigration continuum. In one end of the room, Pastor Mambo from Nigeria stood who came to the US just three months ago. On the other end of the line stood Camille from the Hopi reservation who is a true native of the land. As we introduced ourselves and when we or our ancestors came to America, there was a sense of our stories being threaded into one common story that we are indeed all immigrants (except the Native Americans!). Our one line eventually became one full circle reminding one another that we belong to God and to one another as a family of God, and as we discover our identity with one another, we can do God’s mission together.
On January 18th, ReconciliAsian hosted a seminar entitled “Trauma Awareness and Resilience” led by Dr. Jungki Suh of Korean Peacebuilding Institute (KOPI). The seminar was based on Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR) program taught at Eastern Mennonite University, a program that combines the “latest trauma research, personal self-care and innovative strategies for ending the cycles of victimhood and violence within our local, national, and global communities” (http://www.emu.edu/cjp/star). Dr. Suh introduced the participants to:
* Common responses to trauma
* Transforming trauma
* Trauma intervention for individuals, communities, and societies
* Self-care for leaders and caregivers
* Restorative justice as a response to trauma
It was clear from the beginning of the seminar that the participants clearly identified with the impact of trauma not only on individuals, but to the community and especially to the church. After the lecture, Yongjin Jeong of KOPI led the participants in a circle process to share what they learned. Many were in tears as they shared their own trauma and the healing that was beginning to take place through this seminar. It was powerful and intimate to share such a time.
“The timing of the seminar was perfect. This seminar is helping me to process
a difficult period that I am personally going through. Thank you.” -Participant of the seminar
“I think this seminar is what the Korean American churches really need.
I am so glad I came.” -Joshua, participant of the seminar