Around the Web – January 8, 2016

Below are some links to articles, videos and stories that JustPeace staff have enjoyed this week. We hope you enjoy them too!

January 8, 2016

  • Minnesota Annual Conference: Is Peace Possible? – This article represents a portion of a homily that Bishop Bruce R. Ough delivered Dec. 27 at Messiah United Methodist Church in Plymouth, where he shared the platform with Dr. Tamim Saidi, chairperson of the Northwest Islamic Community Center in Plymouth.

    As United Methodist Christians, our witness has always been for peace. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist revival movement, was a peace activist. The pursuit of peace is part of our Methodist DNA. Our historic position has been, and continues to be, that we believe war is incompatible with the teachings and example of Jesus.

  • The Denver Post – How to have a conversation in a divided world – Jenn Fields of the Denver Post offers helpful advice on ways to engage in dialogue on divisive issues and conversation that leads to understanding instead of destructive conflict.

    In the face of such strong and wrong language, it might seem difficult to choose conversation over conflict, dialogue over divisiveness. But even in singular, heated moments — a family member posts something you find vitriolic on Facebook, a neighbor makes a political comment that makes your blood boil — it’s possible to steer the conversation away from us-versus-them.

  • The Atlantic – When Restorative Justice in schools works – Emily Richmond tells the hopeful story of Pittsfield Middle High School in New Hampshire and how the school system has successfully incorporated restorative practices into the school’s justice system and positively changed the culture among students, staff and teachers.

    “Students are learning what conflict resolution really means, as well as critical social-emotional skills,” Robinson-Mock said. “They’re developing empathy for their peers, and building trust and understanding. Those are essential skills that everybody needs.”

  • MCC: Healing trauma – the community way – Read about how the Mennonite Central Committee has been training trainers in the Democratic Republic of Congo in trauma healing and community building.

Not only do participants need a safe listening space, they need to courage to tell their stories. At a workshop in Nasarawa State, Nigeria, MCC Nigeria peace coordinator Mugu Bakka Zako told workshop participants who had been displaced by the extremist group Boko Haram that the road to healing trauma starts with telling their stories to others who care. “Tears are part of the healing,” he said.

  • Slate.com – “They knew it was the right thing to do”: The unlikely rise of restorative justice in a conservative upstate New York county – Mark Obbie visited Genesse County in western New York state to learn from one of the first and most ambitious attempts to embed a restorative approach in a countywide justice system. In the article, Obbie sheds light on the broader restorative-justice movement, its various challenges and its potential in American justice.

    Wittman acknowledges his pride in his creation. “The real thing that I’m proudest of: This community accepted what we were doing,” he says. “They knew it was the right thing to do.” Traditional justice excludes the kind of direct involvement by the community and victims that Genesee Justice fostered. In that model, Wittman says, “Justice people do all the justice. Here we brought them into it.”

  • Congregational Consulting Group – Congregational Culture is Crucial – John Wimberly writes about the importance of congregational culture and argues that congregations and church leaders should take the time to be intentional about evaluating and cultivating the type of culture that reflects their values.

    Thinking strategically, thinking about a congregation’s culture should not be at the fringe of our congregation’s agenda. They should be the heart of what leaders, lay and clergy, do. May the New Year of 2016 bring more strategically-focused attention on the culture of the congregations where we live, move and have our being.

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