Archive for the ‘Racial Reconciliation’ Category

return of prodigal rembrandt


A Peacebuilding Conference

Racial reconciliation, tribal warfare, conflicted congregations, crime victims, shell shocked soldiers, and family feuds — what do all these have in common?

A need for healing

Come learn some explicit approaches and techniques that will help professionals and lay people alike as they seek to build community and restore a sense of wholeness to individuals, families, and churches in need of reconciliation.

Friday evening, Saturday all day workshops, and Sunday morning worship includes two meals together (Attendees may register for Saturday only).

Professional Continuing Education Credit will be available for Attorneys, Licensed Professional Social Workers, and Clinical Psychologists, for a nominal fee.

Nonviolent Communication: The Rev. Theresa Latini (Luther Seminary), a Presbyterian pastor and certified trainer in NVC, will introduce the basic concepts of this method of communicating that will improve every aspect of your interpersonal relationships.

Restorative Circles: Mikhail Lyubansky, who has studied Restorative Circles with internationally known Dominic Barter, will introduce the theory and method of this community-owned restorative practice that was developed by Barter and his associates in the favelas of Brazil.

STAR Model of Trauma Healing: Elaine Zook Barge, Director for Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University, will introduce participants to the STAR method for trauma healing

Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission: The Rev. Nelson Johnson and the Rev. Joyce Johnson will share their experience with the Greensboro Massacre and the resulting Truth and Reconciliation Commission they founded which has now won international recognition and awards.

The work of the Presbyterian Church in Sudan: The Rev. Peter Tibi, a Visiting International Peacemaker of the Presbyterian Church, will share his work among tribal warriors in South Sudan, the world’s newest country.



To cover the cost of speakers from out of state, we request the following registration fees: 

Full weekend’s events, including Friday dinner and Saturday lunch


Saturday only, including lunch


Student rate, for full time students (includes 2 meals)


Add $40 for 3 hrs. of professional continuing education credit

add $40

Limited scholarships are available
To register, call Alexandria Skinner at 803-414-0185 and leave a message (your call will be returned) or send email with your name, address, phone, arrival date, and stating total amount due to TrinityPeacemakers@gmail.com  .

Please do not send money at this time.  Payment information will be emailed shortly.

As a final request, will you please help us spread the word about this great conference!?  


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The Confession of Belhar was approved by the General Assembly in 2010, and has been sent to the Presbyteries for ratification.  If ratified by 2/3 of the Presbyteries, it will be added to the Book of Confessions and will be the first non-Western confession in the history of the PCUSA.  It is presently being discussed in Trinity Presbytery. 

The Confession of Belhar originated in the Dutch Reformed Mission Church (DRMC).    The DRMC took the lead in declaring that apartheid constituted a status confessionis in which the truth of the gospel was at stake.  Although the Confession of Belhar speaks directly to apartheid, it also speaks directly to all of us concerning the barriers we erect among ourselves.   As stated on the web site of the Reformed Church in America, “Belhar’s relevance is not confined to Southern Africa. It addresses three key issues of concern to all churches: unity of the church and unity among all people, reconciliation within church and society, and God’s justice.” 

Presbyterians, please read this Confession and think about its words, paying special note of the concepts of reconciliation and peacemaking!   Comments are welcome.     (To download your own copy of the Confession, click HERE.) 

Confession of Belhar

September 1986

1. We believe in the triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who gathers, protects and cares for the church through Word and Spirit. This, God has done since the beginning of the world and will do to the end.

2. We believe in one holy, universal Christian church, the communion of saints called from the entire human family.

We believe

• that Christ’s work of reconciliation is made manifest in the church as the community of believers who have been reconciled with God and with one another;

• that unity is, therefore, both a gift and an obligation for the church of Jesus Christ; that through the working of God’s Spirit it is a binding force, yet simultaneously a reality which must be earnestly pursued and sought: one which the people of God must continually be built up to attain;

• that this unity must become visible so that the world may believe that separation, enmity and hatred between people and groups is sin which Christ has already conquered, and accordingly that anything which threatens this unity may have no place in the church and must be resisted;

• that this unity of the people of God must be manifested and be active in a variety of ways: in that we love one another; that we experience, practice and pursue community with one another; that we are obligated to give ourselves willingly and joyfully to be of benefit and blessing to one another; that we share one faith, have one calling, are of one soul and one mind; have one God and Father, are filled with one Spirit, are baptized with one baptism, eat of one bread and drink of one cup, confess one name, are obedient to one Lord, work for one cause, and share one hope; together come to know the height and the breadth and the depth of the love of Christ; together are built up to the stature of Christ, to the new humanity; together know and bear one another’s burdens, thereby fulfilling the law of Christ that we need one another and upbuild one another, admonishing and comforting one another; that we suffer with one another for the sake of righteousness; pray together; together serve God in this world; and together fight against all which may threaten or hinder this unity;

• that this unity can be established only in freedom and not under constraint; that the variety of spiritual gifts, opportunities, backgrounds, convictions, as well as the various languages and cultures, are by virtue of the reconciliation in Christ, opportunities for mutual service and enrichment within the one visible people of God;

• that true faith in Jesus Christ is the only condition for membership of this


Therefore, we reject any doctrine

• which absolutizes either natural diversity or the sinful separation of people in such a way that this absolutization hinders or breaks the visible and active unity of the church, or even leads to the establishment of a separate church formation;

• which professes that this spiritual unity is truly being maintained in the bond of peace while believers of the same confession are in effect alienated from one another for the sake of diversity and in despair of reconciliation;

• which denies that a refusal earnestly to pursue this visible unity as a priceless gift is sin;

• which explicitly or implicitly maintains that descent or any other human or social factor should be a consideration in determining membership of the church.

3. We believe

• that God has entrusted the church with the message of reconciliation in and through Jesus Christ; that the church is called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, that the church is called blessed because it is a peacemaker, that the church is witness both by word and by deed to the new heaven and the new earth in which righteousness dwells.

• that God’s lifegiving Word and Spirit has conquered the powers of sin and

death, and therefore also of irreconciliation and hatred, bitterness and enmity, that God’s lifegiving Word and Spirit will enable the church to live in a new obedience which can open new possibilities of life for society and the world;

• that the credibility of this message is seriously affected and its beneficial work obstructed when it is proclaimed in a land which professes to be Christian, but in which the enforced separation of people on a racial basis promotes and perpetuates alienation, hatred and enmity;

• that any teaching which attempts to legitimate such forced separation by appeal to the gospel, and is not prepared to venture on the road of obedience and reconciliation, but rather, out of prejudice, fear, selfishness and unbelief, denies in advance the reconciling power of the gospel, must be considered ideology and false doctrine.

Therefore, we reject any doctrine

• which, in such a situation sanctions in the name of the gospel or of the will of God the forced separation of people on the grounds of race and color and thereby in advance obstructs and weakens the ministry and experience of reconciliation in Christ.

4. We believe

• that God has revealed himself as the one who wishes to bring about justice and true peace among people;

• that God, in a world full of injustice and enmity, is in a special way the God of the destitute, the poor and the wronged

• that God calls the church to follow him in this; for God brings justice to the oppressed and gives bread to the hungry;

• that God frees the prisoner and restores sight to the blind;

• that God supports the downtrodden, protects the stranger, helps orphans and widows and blocks the path of the ungodly;

• that for God pure and undefiled religion is to visit the orphans and the widows in their suffering;

• that God wishes to teach the church to do what is good and to seek the right;

• that the church must therefore stand by people in any form of suffering and need, which implies, among other things, that the church must witness against and strive against any form of injustice, so that justice may roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream;

• that the church as the possession of God must stand where the Lord stands, namely against injustice and with the wronged; that in following Christ the church must witness against all the powerful and privileged who selfishly seek their own interests and thus control and harm others.

Therefore, we reject any ideology

• which would legitimate forms of injustice and any doctrine which is unwilling to resist such an ideology in the name of the gospel.

5. We believe that, in obedience to Jesus Christ, its only head, the church is called to confess and to do all these things, even though the authorities and human laws might forbid them and punishment and suffering be the consequence.

Jesus is Lord.

To the one and only God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be the honor and the glory

for ever and ever.

Additional Resources for Study

Context and History

The History of the Belhar Confession – By Rev. Daniel Kuys

Why Does the Church Need the Belhar Confession? – By Rev. Dr Mark Lomax.

Noteworthy News Articles

Debate Between WARC and the DRC (published April 23, 2009)

Dutch Reformed Church Says “No” to Belhar (published June 1, 2009)

The GA Special Committee Unanimously Recommends Adoption of Belhar (published Sept. 24, 2009)

Surrounding Issues and Debates

Argument Against Belhar by the the Join Renewal General Assembly Team, with Response by Jin S. Kim




1. This is a translation of the original Afrikaans text of the confession as it was adopted by the synod of the Dutch Reformed Mission Church in South Africa in 1986. In 1994 the Dutch Reformed Mission Church and the Dutch Reformed Church in Africa united to form the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern  Africa (URCSA). This inclusive language text was prepared by the Office of Theology and Worship, Presbyterian Church (USA).

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The title of this post refers to comments by to a blog post written on the topic, “Discussing Race With Love,” by Trinity Peacemaker Cynthia Legette Davis.

The reader who wrote this comment was referring to the effect that constructive dialogue on the issue of race will have on the hearts and minds of people whose heritage includes racism and its effects.  “Thank you for having the courage to breach this rather difficult subject,” said another reader.

Rather than offering platitudes that racism is “bad,” Ms. Legette Davis suggests three specific, positive steps we can do every day, by ourselves to help stop the effects of racism.  Ms. Legette Davis alludes to both an inner dialogue and an outer dialogue.

What was it that Ms. Legette Davis said to merit such enthusiastic comments?   What are her three, specific suggestions you can apply daily?  Well, read for yourself!  Her blog post can be found HERE.  Enjoy!

cynthia Ms. Legette Davis

Ms. Legette Davis has also written books which may be viewed HERE. Notably, on this topic she has written a book and workbook for individuals and groups entitled, Peace Be Still: Inner Healing for Racial Harmony

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This video combining footage from the civil rights movement with Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech with music from Sarah McLachlan is amazing and beautiful. Enjoy … and be inspired!

For more thoughts on waging peace, click HERE

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A member of Trinity Peacemakers has written a personal blog post for Advent.  The post compares the circumstances of the Nativity with the requirements for waging PEACE.  It can be accessed HERE.

angels announcing birth

FLINCK, Govert Teunisz, Angels Announcing the Birth of Christ to the Shepherds
1639, Oil on wood, 160 x 196 cm Musée du Louvre, Paris, Web Gallery of Art,


Note:  If you would like TriPeace to publish a link to your peacemaking blog, or to an entry in your blog, please send an email to us at the address:  TrinityPeacemakers@gmail.com .  Any type of submission is welcome and strongly encouraged.  All submissions are subject to editing and to editorial approval, which will be granted or withheld according to the sole discretion of Trinity Peacemakers.

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Interested in being part of the dialogue for racial healing and reconciliation?  Register and mark your calendar for an overnight conference in January 2010! 

On Thursday evening and Friday, January 21 and 22, 2010, the South Carolina Christian Action Council is sponsoring a two day summit entitled A New Conversation on Race: Engagement and Change.  The Conference, which will take place at White Oak Conference Center near Winnsboro, SC,  is designed to foster dialogue that will help shape directions for moving forward in the future. 

To learn more about the conference, click HERE.  To register, click HERE.  To contact the S.C. Christian Action Council, email sccouncil@sccouncil.net or telephone (803) 786-7115. 

As stated by the Christian Action Council, “This retreat is a critical first step, but only the first step. The conversation will continue and YOU can be a part of creating change in South Carolina.”


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