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Peaceful Ventures Issue 1, Spring 2008

A newsletter from Shalom House -- a community of proactive Christian peacemakers started by Circle of Hope

In July a rather peculiar thing happened. Four people who So who are the four individuals who signed up for this
did not know each other, moved into a house in the Germantown undertaking? Let us introduce ourselves.
neighborhood of Philadelphia, committed to live together for 2 Brian Baughan. Like many others, I
years, and set about forming a community of proactive, Christian have faced two big wake-up calls in
Peacemakers. recent years: the devastation wreaked
No one really needs to explain why we need to make peace, by U.S.-led wars and our society’s
but how do we go about making it? Shalom House, which is the desensitization to violence. What are
name of our new community, is one practical idea on how to compassionate and effective responses
make peace that has been forming in the Circle of Hope network to these present crises? We can pray,
of Brethren in Christ congregations for a long time now. It came process the facts, protest negative
to life this summer. Here’s a little more on what Shalom House is policies, support positive ones. . . . These are good things, but
all about. more seems necessary. I want to be renewed, transformed by the
The Vision - what it is Gospel of Peace. I don’t think I’m alone.
Shalom House is a tool for proactive peacemakers to use to grow It is a struggle for us to live in a world that seems so inured
in their faith, to express the gospel of peace, to provide the option to violence, destruction, and death. That’s why I look toward
of reconciliation for people in Philadelphia, and to secure a place community. I’ve picked one integrated with the church to which I
for Circle of Hope among God’s worldwide peace movement. It belong, Circle of Hope. As a searcher and a convert to
is directed by a Shalom House Guidance Team of Randy Nyce, nonviolence, Shalom House seems like the right fit.
Rod & Gwen White, Missy Stoner, Jane Clinton and Sarah White. I have never done anything like this, and so I regularly find
The team is overseen by Circle Venture, Circle of Hope’s arm of myself asking, “What are we doing, exactly?” Uncovering the
compassionate service. answers on how to live nonviolently is an ongoing—often
frustrating—process. It’s great we have a loyal guidance team, a
The Mission - what it does responsive church community, and dedicated partners.
Shalom House provides community for committed peacemakers I wish many things for Philadelphia: fewer handguns, prison
to spend at least two-years deepening and applying their calling cells, abandoned buildings, and casino plans; more green-
in Philadelphia and learning about and connecting to God’s powered buildings, urban farms, mediation centers, and pretzel
worldwide community of peacebuilders. The house lives in factories.
peace, works in the community for peace daily, creates a network Mimi Copp. Over the last decade I've
of peacemakers and includes Circle of Hope in it. lived in a Catholic Worker House in
Chicago; spent 3 years living life in
The Distictives that drive Shalom House: Nigeria; found my way closer to God
• We gain life and give it out of our relationship with through my church Circle of Hope; and
Jesus. We are the new humanity. studied Peace and Development
• The community operates with the rhythm of the age-old Studies in Spain. All of this has led me
disciplines of work and prayer, balancing contemplation to Shalom House.
and action. The watershed moment for me was in 2001, two weeks after
• All ages and status are welcome. Circle of Hope has a returning home from Nigeria, when a group of people used
vision to equip the next generation; likewise, Shalom airplanes as weapons and killed thousands of people in the U.S.
House focuses on recruiting young adult peacemakers Decrying this violence, my government reigned down more
to make a long-lasting impact in Philadelphia and violence. In these times, I discovered the depths of my belief in
among God’s world-wide peacemaking network. nonviolent Christian peacemaking – in Jesus’ call to find a third
• The house operates according to a general “strategic way; different from violence and different from passivity. I was
plan” set by the team but reflecting the gifts and desires compelled to make my vocation nonviolent peacemaking.
of the residents. My passion is addressing root causes of violence like foreign
• The members of the household act as part of the Circle policies, trade agreements, spending packages. But making
of Hope network. Their training and opportunity is not peace doesn’t only happen through legislation or changing
only for personal growth, but is designed to build up the foreign policy. It also happens by how we live our lives. This is
Church, primarily Circle of Hope, in Philadelphia. exemplified in the story of how Jesus lived his life and how he
died. This is why I am a part of Shalom House. I am looking for
a conscious way of living a life of peacemaking.
Adam Malliet. followed Jesus and I took his teachings to peacemakers.
In the lead up to heart from the beginning. During my time This pooling of our resources also
the Iraq War in Nairobi, I remember folks dancing in reveals some of our shared values. We
things stopped the streets, celebrating the election of believe in enough; that there is enough to
making sense. I Nelson Mandela as president of S. Africa go around when we share and when we
grew up in an and the triumph over apartheid; my first rely on God. We are reminded of the
evangelical exposure to nonviolent resistance. This story of the Manna in Exodus where God
conservative church, and while I early impression is one of several that led lays out an economic system based on
appreciate the foundation of faith I to a conviction to live out the Gospel of the principle of enough rather than
received, some important teachings of Peace. scarcity.
Jesus were left unaddressed. I asked When I moved to Philadelphia, I was We value sharing. Adam, who sold
myself how we could participate in war if already doing some work on my own. his house when he joined Shalom House,
Jesus asked us to love our enemies and Still, something was missing. I realized has decided to loan out all of that money,
to do good to those who harm us. that without the support of others, it would interest-free, to his friends who are
Without a community to encourage be difficult to continue deepening this suffering from debt so that they can pay it
me in this direction and with little sense of calling. The opportunity came at off. Brian B. and Adam have joined Brian
understanding of the rich history of non- the perfect time and I have enjoyed the S. and Mimi in our credit card and student
violent peacemaking that exists in the challenges of forming our community and loan debt by being willing to make
church, I decided that if my enemies beginning to discern the practicalities of payments out of our common fund each
wanted to kill me, my faith required me to our mission. month to pay down those debts.
let them. I felt very alone. I believe now We value the wellbeing of each other.
that this was the Holy Spirit leading me; How does Shalom House work? We live in a society that works too much
which isn't easy for me to say because If you’re wondering exactly how this all and puts too much emphasis on “getting
the mystery of the Holy Spirit is so works, you’re not alone. We ask things done;” many times at the expense
overwhelming to me that I am often ourselves this question all the time. But of our health. People get sick and
uncomfortable invoking that language. over the last few months, we have slowly depressed. They suffer nervous
I began to fill in the "blanks" with the started to lay the foundation of our breakdowns or feel isolated. We hope by
help of a few friends and by studying the community and our work. collectively working fewer hours on the
prophetic theology of Richard Hays and The original idea laid out by the job, we can begin the practice of
Stanley Hauerwas. I also started guidance team was that each community balancing work, rest, prayer, and
attending (quite accidentally?) Circle of member would hold a part-time job to relationships.
Hope where I was surrounded by a generate the income needed to keep the What have we been up to these
community of believers who connected house members fed, clothed and warm. first few months?
me to the Anabaptist tradition of We’ve already put a twist on this part of We have started thinking of ourselves as
nonviolent peacemaking and created a the plan. Adam wanted to keep his full- proactive peacemakers and so together
safe place for me to explore and deepen time job with Project H.O.M.E., a we are figuring out what it means. We
my faith. Shalom House presented itself organization that works on homelessness have etched out a rhythm together that is
as a very incarnational way to begin living in Philadelphia, and saw his main role in anchored by our Wed. night dinner and
out what I had learned, and so I put one the house as being a financial one, so he meeting time. Grounding our community
foot in front of the other, trusting God's continues to work 40 hours a week. The and work in God is paramount. We’ve
promises. Blessed are the peacemakers. others fluctuate between part-time gigs, been carving out time to pray & meditate
full-time work or no outside jobs at all. both individually and collectively. Each of
Brian Shingledecker. Whatever income each of us brings us is strengthening Shalom House by
I spent my childhood in, we put it in our common pot to cover meeting monthly with a spiritual director.
in Nairobi, Kenya. our expenses and our debt that we’ve From this spiritual center, we have spent
Later, during high decided to share. What comes out of this time building community and striving to
school, my family pot is really rather magical & definitely create a culture of peace in our home.
moved to Michigan. counter-cultural--four adults living off of We have also propelled ourselves into
Since, I've attended what adds up to about 2 full-time salaries. action. We’d like to share with you a few
college in Indiana, This allows us the time (a precious photos from some of our actions during
worked with foster commodity in modern U.S. life) to do these first months, which are on the next
kids in Guatemala, and assisted in some proactive, peacemaking work. The page.
Katrina recovery in Mississippi. A year common pot is not entirely magical Thank you for letting us introduce
and a half ago, I moved to Philadelphia though; it does have it’s limit. So a larger ourselves to you. We will continue to let
and, soon after, I found Circle of Hope challenge is figuring out how to fund the you know what is happening at Shalom
and first heard about the vision of Shalom work we want to do, like participating in House.
House. conflict resolution trainings, working with Peace be with you,
My journey as a peacemaker started partners, organizing actions, hosting Mimi, Brian, Adam & Brian
at an early age. I grew up in a family that events, traveling to connect with other
Walk for Peace in North Philly
Please keep us in your prayers. In August, Philly hit 250 homicides for
the year. By the end of year we
We ask that you pray for us and suffered 392 homicides; 331 from
our work of proactive, nonviolent guns. We walked the streets of North
Christian peacemaking. Philly with other Philadelphians as
part of the City’s “Put it Down”
campaign and local groups and
Please pray for: churches’ call to walk for Peace.
✴Our ongoing discernment as we Two months later, we went to a
figure out how to make & live in peace. workshop on “Christians & Handgun
✴More people to join Shalom House. Violence” to learn more about efforts
✴Job opportunities directly related to to reduce the proliferation of illegal
peacemaking. handguns.

Guluwalk is a movement that

stands in solidarity and raises
awareness about the ongoing
civil war in Northern Uganda.
In the fall, Brian S. was the lead
organizer of the Philadelphia
walk and Brian B. was on the
planning committee. Shalom
House served as Guluwalk
organizing headquarters.
How you can help Marching the streets of Philadelphia with 250 people and a
police escort.

1. Be a prayer partner. Vigil & Nonviolent Direct Action to Close

We are contributing to the the School of the Americas
formation of God’s network of 20,000 people, including
Brian S., Mimi, and Brian
peacemakers around the B., met in November at the
globe. Gates of Fort Benning,
GA to call for the close of
2. Be a local partner. the School of the Americas
Sign up at our website -- (now called WHINSEC).
We mourned the loss of -- 1,000s killed by the
to be on the Circle of graduates of the school
and we took hope in our
Peacemakers Listserve and numbers & our
participate in our dialogue and commitments toward
actions. nonviolent peacemaking.
Christmas Peace Pilgrimage
3. Find further partners. Entering the season of
Advent, Shalom House
We have a new cohort of led a group from Circle
house members who join each of Hope to participate in
the 48th annual
year. We are looking for those Christmas Peace
God has prepared for our Pilgrimage -- a 10 mile
trek from Nazareth to
community. Bethlehem, PA.
4. Be a contributing partner. Hundreds of Christians
We need to raise at least walked throughout the
$30,000 a year for expenses day seeking to reflect the
nonviolent life of Jesus &
beyond our mutual sharing. his truth of forgiving love.
Address Change Service Requested

Philadelphia, PA 19147
1125 S. Broad St. 2nd Floor
c/o Circle of Hope
Permit No. 4477 Shalom House

Philadelphia, PA

U.S. Postage PAID

Non-profit Org.

We’d love to hear from you!

6117 Germantown Ave.
Brian Baughan
Philadelphia, PA 19144

Mimi Copp
Adam Malliet
Brian Shingledecker

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