Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. — Ephesians 2:19-20
In the spirit of Ephesians 2:19-20, Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America came together for a week of inspiration, worship, music, learning and fellowship at Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, VA . Celebrating its thirtieth year, BPFNA’s No Longer Strangers: Crossing Borders for Peacemaking asked participants to consider:
“What borders intersect your life?”
We were invited to explore the many ways our lives are divided from the lives of our neighbors by borders both visible and invisible. According to keynote speaker, Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington, of the Washington Consulting Group, our work begins first with understanding the mechanisms that erected the borders and question our own complicity that maintains them in our minds, hearts, families, churches, institutions and public policies. Dr. Washington gave us tools to begin this work during the week, crossing borders of diversity. Some quotes from his presentation follow.
Kicking off a week of peace-making activities, lectures and discussions, we were encouraged to consider how we may prepare a peace rooted in justice ministry. This was especially useful as we interacted throughout the week. Workshops included, among others: Hopes and Fears of Cuban-American relations, Lighting the Future of Undocumented Students, Cross-Generational Alliances, Opening Children’s Imaginations to the World of Shalom, Transgender Family Trees and Christology for Radicals. Visits to local Mennonite settlements and Sustainable Living Community Gardens, and recreating in the Shenandoah National Forest were some of the themes offered.
One workshop I attended was called, “The Real Scandal of the Prodigal” with David Jordan, where he amplified our understanding of the differences bridged by the Father’s love. Jordan also explained the “Valley of the Shadow of Death” from Psalm 23, as a place which is also known as the road to Jericho, showing us slides of the actual road, where the Good Samaritan story is situated. Graphic description of these scenes from the parables brought a dramatic perspective on crossing borders. From this perspective, we continue to struggle with these challenges today, and are called to be peacemakers.
Intentions/Goals Of the 2015 Peace Camp
- To deepen the level of authentic dialogue and engagement Of, About, and Across the borders of difference.
- To engage tools for building a learning environment.
- To engage the role of power and privilege as we work to be more
effective border-crossers and create the beloved community.
- To consider the importance of self awareness and the role of “ally” as a tool and needed skill for building a more effective “peace movement”