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Hello from Shalom House and happy holidays, Everyone! In trying to organize this update letter to you from Shalom House, I wanted to focus again on the broader concept of Shalom. In order to do this, I attempted to categorize the various activities and projects we’ve been working on by putting them in a box to coincide with a “tier” of Shalom, such as the intrapersonal and interpersonal, as between individuals, communities and nations. I quickly realized, within about twenty seconds or so, that this was impossible for me. Shalom is a total concept and the different components or levels that add to the total idea are not independent of one another. Since our last newsletter, Shalom House has begun a monthly discussion time with the purpose of bringing people together to have productive dialogue about various aspects of peace. The first topic that we broached was the question “What is peace?” An illustration that came up during both that first discussion and the next entitled “What is peacemaking?” was of the different above mentioned aspects of peace being like waves that ﬂow into and out from one another. This illustration came to me again as I was trying to categorize our community’s activities of the last quarter for this letter. So, I am not going to categorize the different activities we’ve been involved in. Feel free to do so yourself, however--not everyone present at the discussion times agreed with this liquid illustration; some folks seemed to think that the different components of peace are in fact static, separate and independent from one another. Unfortunately for me, my decision not to categorize 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 United Methodist Church in observance of the International Day of Peace, a United Nations sanctioned ceaseﬁre holiday. This holiday is celebrated all around the world and takes place annually 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 is something of interest to our community. Shalom House worked with Curtis Book, Circle of Hope covenant member and Mennonite Central Committee East Coast Peace and Justice Coordinator to set up a seminar to educate the people of Circle on Anabaptist peace theology. Curtis shared his knowledge of some of the history and heritage of the Brethren in Christ denomination and its place as an historical “peace church” with participants. Over the weekend of November 21-23, three of us from Shalom House plus four other folks from the broader Circle of
Issue 4, Winter 2008
A newsletter from Shalom House -- a community of proactive Christian peacemakers started by Circle of Hope
Hope community took a road trip down to Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia in order to join twenty-thousand other protesters for the School of the Americas Watch Vigil. If you are unaware of what the SOA is, you The crew at the SOA vigil in front of might be interested in Fort Benning looking up the SOA Watch on the internet: http://soaw.org. As a community, Shalom House has also recently begun our “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 that we can have a clear, honest picture of ourselves as we begin to formulate our goals for the next year. This October, the six of us Shalomers travelled to upstate New 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 miniimmersion into the life and rhythms of the Woodcrest Community. Additionally, we had the opportunity to be recipients to the Woodcrest folks’ superior hospitality and delicious homemade food. This retreat was coordinated by Brian Baughan, who has some friends who are Woodcrest Community members. This brings me to the last piece of news I am going to relay in this letter, the departure of Brian Baughan from Shalom House. Brian recently decided that life was leading him elsewhere and felt it was time for him to leave the community. We want to acknowledge all of the contributions he’s made over his sixteen months as a community member; it is to his credit that much of the groundwork of Shalom House was laid and that we are where we are today. We all miss him greatly, though are glad to support him as he is following where his path leads him. These are some of the things we’ve been up to at Shalom House over the last few months. Of course, we also continue to personally contemplate what it means to be peacemakers and how to follow our callings in our lives, individually and as a collective. We are continuing to strive to approach peacemaking in the holistic sense that is Shalom, and in so doing, to deepen our understanding of peace and peacemaking so that we can spread Shalom in ourselves, our community, our city and beyond.
Peace be with you, Kristan, Tandi, Mimi, Adam, and Brian S.
Reflections on Peacemaking
We are grateful for answered prayers.
Emily Kephart has joined the House. We’re excited to have her in the community.
Please pray for:
Adam, Brian and Mimi as they near the end of their 2 year terms and discern what is next with the community. New community members we seek to join the community this summer. Kristan Menzel has she transitions out of Shalom House and into other endeavors. Peacemaking-related job opportunities.
How you can help
1. Be a prayer partner. We are contributing to the formation of God’s network of peacemakers around the globe. 2. Be a local partner. Sign up at our website -www.shalomhouse.us -to be on the Circle of Peacemakers Listserve and participate in our dialogue and actions. 3. Find further partners. We have a new cohort of house members who join each year. We are looking for those God has prepared for our community. 4. Be a contributing partner. We need to raise at least $30,000 a year for expenses beyond our mutual sharing.
If you would like to share with us in this way, you can make a check out to Circle Venture and in the memo line add Shalom House. Please use the enclosed envelope at you convenience. Thank you for financial support.
We’d love for you to say hi!
Address: 401 S. 51st Street Philadelphia, PA 19143 Phone: 215.474.1195 Website: www.shalomhouse.us Email: Tandi Book firstname.lastname@example.org Mimi Copp email@example.com Emily Kephart firstname.lastname@example.org Adam Malliet email@example.com Brian Shingledecker firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to subscribe or unsubscribe to this newsletter, please email email@example.com or give us a call.
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Shalom House c/o Circle of Hope 1125 S. Broad St. 2nd Floor Philadelphia, PA 19147
Shalom House is a tool for proactive peacemakers to use to grow in their faith, to express the gospel of peace, to provide the option of reconciliation for people in Philadelphia, and to secure a place for Circle of Hope among God’s worldwide peace movement.
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