Ruth Harvey 29 Jul 2019
Welcome to this Summertime edition of the Peacemakers Network from Place for Hope.
A mark of summer where I live has been baking heat followed by dramatic thunderstorms. The splendour of creation is glorious. Yet we know that this heat of summer masks an anxiety about the almost-unstoppable change in our climate. it’s not just climate change that raises anxiety. Whether it’s change on the political, the social, the environmental front, or indeed within our church or faith communities, we know that change, and the transitions that accompany it, can induce anxiety. In the work of faith-based reconciliation, we hold out a hope. This hope is that by working compassionately and robustly through transition and change, we can reach a place of clarity and shared wisdom. It is a hope rooted in the peace and unity – the shalom/salaam – to which the Gospel of Christ calls us. Thank you for your work as a peace maker, and for your support of Place for Hope.
Ten years ago many of us met in Aviemore for a conference on ‘Christianity, Conflict and the Soul of the Nation.’ This was the moment when Place for Hope was launched in response to the need in our congregations in Scotland for reconcilers, for mediators. This was also a moment when an ecumenical commitment was made to work for reconciliation across the culture of our churches and faith communities. A decade later, Place for Hope is honoured to support the work of 35 trained and accredited mediators who work throughout Scotland and the north of England, nurturing peace, hosting very difficult conversations, and building reconciliation in all church denominations.
This November we re-convene as the Place for Hope community for the Gathering in Glasgow on Conflict and Faith. We are truly delighted to be joined in the planning by 10 partner organisations. Through these partnerships we celebrate the diversity that distinguishes us, and the synergy that we share. We have space for 300+ participants. Please help us make this a turning point for our communities and for our churches – please come to this gathering, and please also pass on news of the event to those who may be interested.
We settled on the dates for the Gathering in Glasgow at the beginning of this year. Little did we know then that our opening day, 31st October 2019, would be tagged by an altogether different momentous event - the UK leaving the EU. Whatever happens in the political sphere on Hallowe’en, let us remember that we will gather in Glasgow in the season of All Saints and All Souls, when we remember and give thanks for all those who have held and nourished, protected, challenged and led us courageously in the past. We pray for all, great and small, who lead us now.
“A mark of summer where I live has been baking heat followed by dramatic thunderstorms. The splendour of creation is glorious. Yet we know that this heat of summer masks an anxiety about the almost-unstoppable change in our climate.” — Ruth Harvey