Conflict transformation, restorative justice, circle process– these are relatively new concepts for many Korean Americans and need to be fleshed out and practiced in small groups. Throughout the summer, we had wonderful opportunities to introduce these concepts and work to implement them in various settings.
ReconciliAsian Summer Book Club
Following the Spring Justice and Peacemaking Discipleship School, ReconciliAsian book club was formed. Those interested in studying and applying these important peacemaking principles in our homes, churches, and communities met for five weeks in Pasadena, CA. We went through the Little Book Series, and began with John Paul Lederach’s Little Book of Conflict Transformation translated into Korean by Jeeho Park, and then the Little Book of Circle Processes by Kay Pranis. One of our participants, Nan Yun, commented:
“Our time together has made me realize that my view of the gospel was limited- that the gospel is all about love, love on the cross, but not on the impact that he brought upon his community, his society. I think as a Christ follower, I need to really think about how I am to consider the impact I am having in my community. Especially as a pastor, I have a group of kids that I need to lead, so I leave with a lot of things to ponder and tools to practice with.”
Youth and Family Conference
From August 1-2, ReconciliAsian led a two-day junior high family conference at All Nations Church (ANC) in Sunland, CA focusing on loving and communicating well as a family. The youth and parents met separately for two sessions to learn about conflict transformation skills and restorative justice concepts interwoven in lively cooperative games and small group discussions. The youth sessions were led in English while the parents sessions were in Korean. The last session was a joint session with the youth and parents presented in Konglish. In our last session, every participant came up to talk about something they learned that they want to take with them. Some of the comments included:
- I learned that conflict is normal (youth).
- The purpose of our existence is love and reconciliation (parent).
- I learned more about respect and love, active listening, and I-message, not you-message (youth).
- I hope that I will spend more time with family members rather than studying in my room alone (youth).
- I will lay aside my pride and focus on restoring relationships instead (parent).
- We are going to make a family respect agreement (parent).
Radical Journey and DOOR Hollywood
How does peacemaking and mission connect? On August 28th, ReconciliAsian was asked to address this to a team from Radical Journey, a great program of Mennonite Mission Network that sends out young adults to serve overseas for ten months. As part of their mission training before heading to Indonesia and South Africa, the team came to Los Angeles to engage the diversity of culture and languages of this city.
Discovering Opportunities for Outreach and Reflection (DOOR), a wonderful organization in Hollywood that focuses on urban ministry and leadership, also came to hear about how we engage peacemaking and mission with the Korean American community. It was a great time highlighting the centrality of the ministry of reconciliation, especially in urban ministry, and also to explore ways to work together for peace in the city of Los Angeles.
We have been blessed to have these opportunities to learn, practice, and train with a committed group of people who hunger for a deeper way to connect and love God, their family, churches, and their neighbors locally and globally.