Reconciliation Outreach News

Welcome to the Reconciliation UMC Outreach Blog and Bulletin Board. This site is designed to be an online place where we can share ideas, projects, information, celebrations, and other things pertaining to outreach ministry. If you would like more information, please contact our Outreach Team Chair, Kathy Murray by emailing her at

Friday, July 28, 2006

A Statement of the National Council of Churches USA on the Current Violence in the Middle East

“As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, ‘If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace!’” (Luke 19: 41-42a, NRSV)

Jesus’ lament echoes over the landscape of the Middle East, and in the hearts of men and women everywhere, as we witness the senseless violence engulfing the region. Is there ever to be an end to violence in the land we call holy?

What has violence solved these last 60 years? What has violence solved these past weeks?

Any hope for peace, itself a miracle in the midst of occupation, was stifled with Israel’s missile strike on Gaza and the death of innocent Palestinians.

Any chance of reconciliation was hindered by the retributive attacks and kidnapping of an Israeli soldier by Hamas.

Any call for restraint was ignored with disproportionate retaliations by Israel.

Any plea for reason was cast aside with the capture of two more Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah.

Any prayer for an end to this escalation of hostilities was silenced with the Israeli incursions into Lebanon, the subsequent shelling of Haifa and Beirut, and the death of more and more civilians.

We hear Jesus’ lament in the cries of the Israelis, Palestinians, and Lebanese, the Christians, Jews, Muslims, and others whose lives are threatened by this unending violence. Where can this cycle of vengeance, retribution and violence lead?

When will all Israeli leaders see that aggression only breeds more aggression, and that security cannot be achieved through the oppression and humiliation of others? When will all Palestinian leaders understand that calls for justice demand the doing of justice, and that suffering injustice does not confer moral license to respond with violence?

When will the United States see that being an honest, effective broker for peace requires fairness in our dealings with both the Israelis and the Palestinians, and now the Lebanese, and that doing nothing to end the violence costs us dearly in spirit, blood, treasure, and moral integrity?

The National Council of Churches USA and Church World Service:

§ Calls upon our own government and all governments, recognizing the success of former peace initiatives, to encourage aggrieved parties to engage in earnest negotiation, and through the United Nations to work with all concerned parties to address immediate humanitarian needs and to resolve the long-term issues underlying the continued violence;

§ Calls upon all parties in the Middle East to end the current hostilities, to develop non-violent strategies for engagement, and to work toward a just and sustainable settlement of the issues that plague the region;

§ Calls upon the religious communities of the region to pray, teach and lead their people in the ways of peace, and upon religious communities throughout the world to walk with them in solidarity until peace is achieved; and,

§ Calls upon its member communions to pray for all those who have suffered and died as a result of this violence, and their families and communities, and to engage in humanitarian and advocacy actions for peace.

We issue this statement remembering the words of Jesus Christ: “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matthew 26:52, NRSV).
For more information

Submit a prayer for peace in the FaithfulAmerica prayer room.Take action by sending a letter to your members of Congress urging them to pressure the White House to take the lead in restoring peace.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Youth Group in Biloxi - Slide Show - 8/13

With the help of all of your prayers and contributions, the youth mission trip to Biloxi was truly a moving and eventful experience that we would love to share with you. Did you know that we also went to New Orleans?

Join us as we break bread and present our slide show at Asbury UMC on August 13th at 5:00 PM. Youth from participating churches will relate their experiences and observations. RSVP is appreciated for meal planning purposes, but not required. Please contact Marianne Daye.

Kairos 25 Prison Ministry

Kairos 25 will occur at North Carolina Central Correctional Institution for Women in Raleigh on October 12, 13, 14 and 15. Please pray for the team who will start their training on Saturday, July 29th and for those who will be participants from inside.

For Kairos 25, Reconciliation will have 4 members on team, Lisa Wells, Barbara Hale, Sara Webb Philips and Patti Owen. Kairos (Greek for the right or opportune moment) is an international prison ministry in which volunteers bring Christ's love and forgiveness to incarcerated individuals and their families, fulfilling the Christian call to care for those in prison.

Our team will need to bring 400 DOZEN cookies to the prison! What happens with the cookies? Good question. Each inmate and staff member receive a dozen homemade cookies during the weekend. It is sort of the trademark of Kairos and whenever there is a walk scheduled at the prison, the ladies know that the cookies are on the way. The cookies are a symbol of love, showing the prisoners that they have not been forgotten, that God still loves them, and that there are people who are praying for them and willing to reach out to them. Lisa Wells is looking for some folks who are interested in great fellowship and baking. As we mix and scoop and bake and cool and bag the cookies, there is ample time for prayer and fellowship (and just plain fun!)