Hello from Shalom House and happy holidays, Everyone!In trying to organize this update letter to you from ShalomHouse, I wanted to focus again on the broader concept of Shalom. In order to do this, I attempted to categorize the variousactivities and projects we’ve been working on by putting them ina box to coincide with a “tier” of Shalom, such as the intra-personal and interpersonal, as between individuals, communitiesand nations. I quickly realized, within about twentyseconds or so, that this was impossible for me. Shalom is a totalconcept and the different components or levels that add to thetotal idea are not independent of one another.Since our last newsletter, Shalom House has begun amonthly discussion time with the purpose of bringing peopletogether to have productive dialogue about variousaspects of peace. The first topic that we broached was thequestion “What is peace?” An illustration that came up duringboth that first discussion and the next entitled “Whatis peacemaking?” was of the different above mentioned aspectsof peace being like waves that ﬂow into and out from oneanother. This illustration came to me again as I was trying tocategorize our community’s activities of the last quarter for thisletter. So, I am not going to categorize the different activitieswe’ve been involved in. Feel free to do so yourself, however--noteveryone present at the discussion times agreed with thisliquid illustration; some folks seemed to think that the differentcomponents of peace are in fact static, separate and independentfrom one another. Unfortunately for me, my decision not tocategorize our goings on makes organizing this update letter more challenging! But here goes:Back in September, we Shalomers organized a prayer walk and vigil in conjunction with our friends and neighbors of West Philadelphia Mennonite Fellowship and Calvary UnitedMethodist Church in observance of the International Day of Peace, a United Nations sanctioned ceaseﬁre holiday. Thisholiday is celebrated all around the world and takes placeannually on September twenty-ﬁrst. As Shalom House is a child of the Circle of Hope Church,which is of the Brethren in Christ denomination, peace theology issomething of interest to our community. Shalom House workedwith Curtis Book, Circle of Hope covenant member andMennonite Central Committee East Coast Peace and JusticeCoordinator to set up a seminar to educate the people of Circleon Anabaptist peace theology. Curtis shared his knowledge of some of the history and heritage of the Brethren in Christdenomination and its place as an historical “peace church” withparticipants.Over the weekend of November 21-23, three of us fromShalom House plus four other folks from the broader Circle of Hope community took aroad trip down to FortBenning in Columbus,Georgia in order to jointwenty-thousand other protesters for the Schoolof the Americas WatchVigil. If you are unawareof what the SOA is, youmight be interested inlooking up the SOA Watch on the internet: http://soaw.org. As a community, Shalom House has also recently begunour “mapping process,” wherein we are evaluating our last year to determine areas of strength and weakness as well as areas of growth and areas of desired growth. We are doing this so thatwe can have a clear, honest picture of ourselves as we begin toformulate our goals for the next year.This October, the six of us Shalomers travelled to upstateNew York to spend a weekend with the Woodcrest Community(formerly known as Bruderhof) for our quarterly house retreat.While there, we had the pleasure of experiencing a mini-immersion into the life and rhythms of the Woodcrest Community. Additionally, we had the opportunity to be recipients to theWoodcrest folks’ superior hospitality and delicious homemadefood. This retreat was coordinated by Brian Baughan, who hassome friends who are Woodcrest Community members.This brings me to the last piece of news I am going torelay in this letter, the departure of Brian Baughan from ShalomHouse. Brian recently decided that life was leading himelsewhere and felt it was time for him to leave the community. Wewant to acknowledge all of the contributions he’s made over hissixteen months as a community member; it is to his credit thatmuch of the groundwork of Shalom House was laid and that weare where we are today. We all miss him greatly, though are gladto support him as he is following where his path leads him.These are some of the things we’ve been up to at ShalomHouse over the last few months. Of course, we also continue topersonally contemplate what it means to be peacemakers andhow to follow our callings in our lives, individually and as acollective. We are continuing to strive to approach peacemakingin the holistic sense that is Shalom, and in so doing, to deepenour understanding of peace and peacemaking so that we canspread Shalom in ourselves, our community, our city and beyond.
Peace be with you,Kristan, Tandi, Mimi, Adam, and Brian S.
Issue 4, Winter 2008
A newsletter from Shalom House -- a community of proactive Christian peacemakers started by Circle of Hope
The crew at the SOA vigil in front of Fort Benning