2,000 years ago, give or take, Christians believe that Jesus was raised from the dead. This remarkable event is retold in the ancient versions of the Gospels, in the familiar strains of Handel’s “Messiah”, and literary allusions from “A Tale of Two Cities” to “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”
What difference does the resurrection make to us now, though?
This fall, on First and Third Saturdays, Wilmington Friends Meeting is hosting Living Witness conversations on Zoom. Each conversation features a way in which Christians are bearing witness to resurrection: discarding death-dealing ways and celebrating new life breaking in.
The Sept. 18 conversation was about “Faithful Witness in a Fractured World”, a book co-authored by Wilmington College Political Science Professor Michael Snarr and Mount Union Religious Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies Professor Nicole Johnson. They offered stories of contemporary Christians who are transcending church battles and political arguments to serve in the name of Christ.
The Oct. 2 conversation is on Practical Peacemaking and highlights the work of Friends Church Peace Teams.
FCPT was born out of Kenyan Quakers’ response to the 2007 Kenyan election violence, and seeks to remove the causes of war in Kenya and throughout East Africa. The featured speakers are Getry Agizah and Karla Jay.
Getry has participated in many types of peace work, including the Alternatives to Violence Program, Trauma Healing and Reconciliation, Mediation, Civic Education, and the Nonviolence Movement for Social Change. She has spent the past 15 years working for peace around her nation of Kenya, and outside Kenya in countries like Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Southern Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, China, South Africa, Guatemala, and Ireland.
Karla serves as Friends United Meeting’s Global Ministries Coordinator. She has been on the pastoral team at Iglesia Amigos de Indianapolis, where her father, Carlos Moran, is pastor. Karla was born in Guatemala and raised in the United States. She holds a degree in Business Administration from Universidad Galileo Puerto Barrios in Guatemala. Many Friends Meetings in Clinton County are part of Friends United Meeting.
To receive the Zoom link for the Oct. 2 Living Witness conversation, email Wilmington Friends Meeting at email@example.com .
Upcoming Living Witness conversations include:
• The LGBTQ-Friendly Bible Hour, 2 p.m. Oct. 16.
Presenter: Peterson Toscano
How can we read the Bible in life-giving ways? The LGBTQ-Friendly Bible Hour will give participants an opportunity to explore various themes familiar to many LGBTQ people and connect them to Bible stories.
This is not “What does the Bible say about homosexuality?” No, Peterson delves into the text to find gender outlaws in it, to bust open traditional readings, and provides whole new perspectives.
Peterson is a scholar, a performance artist, and a Friend. He playfully explores the serious worlds of gender, religion, and climate change. Learn more about Peterson on his website: https://petersontoscano.com
• F/friends in Unlikely Places, 2 p.m. Nov. 6.
Presenter: Bobby Trice
How can we connect with those with whom we disagree? Bobby Trice and Alicia McBride make the case for engaging across the usual party lines and share ways to make those conversations faithful and effective. They explore the work of Jonathan Haidt, giving participants tools for understanding the moral frameworks of those with whom they disagree and engaging in productive dialogue.
Bobby Trice is the Quaker Outreach Coordinator at Friends Committee on National Legislation. He coordinates FCNL staff engagement with Quaker communities to listen to Friends’ concerns, facilitate empowerment, and make meaningful action on public policy more accessible. He is a member of Friends Meeting of Washington (Baltimore Yearly Meeting) in DC.
• Community Safety Beyond Policing, 2 p.m. Nov. 20.
Presenters: Lucy Duncan and Mary Zerkel
How can we build non-violent communities? Violence has never been the way to bring new life, and yet we structure our local budgets around supporting policing when those dollars could be used to uproot the seeds of war. Join us for this conversation with Lucy Duncan and Mary Zerkel to practice ways of speaking about life affirming community governance.
Lucy Duncan serves as Director of Friends Relations for the American Friends Service Committee. She has been instrumental in the adaptation of Quaker social change ministry as a tool for reclaiming Spirit-guided social change work focused on companioning those most impacted by injustice and was a lead co-facilitator for Radical Acting in Faith for white people.
She is a member of Green Street Friends Meeting (PhYM) and is the proud mom of a 19-year-old son.
Mary Zerkel is coordinator of AFSC’s Communities Against Islamophobia initiative, director of Chicago Peacebuilding, and has worked at AFSC for over 20 years.
In addition, Mary is co-founder of the art collective Lucky Pierre, which works on political and social issues in a variety of forms. She is also a co-founder of the PO Box, an intergenerational creative collective, social practice and mutual aid hub in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago.
• Grow Change, 2 p.m. Dec. 4.
Presenter: Yolanda Owens
How can faith — and a mustard seed — change the world? The goal of agriculture has always been to provide enough food for those who need it and to, possibly, build up a surplus that can be drawn on in future lean years. Yolanda Owens offers a vision forward.
Yolanda Owens is a Food Systems Consultant and considers herself a homegrown Buckeye. Yolanda is very active in her community serving on boards connected to food work and is the first woman of color to serve as the President of the Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Alumni Society Board.
Learn more about Yolanda and her work at her website: https://forageandblack.com