Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Pizzas & Peacemaking

We have been called to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen apart, and to bring home those who have lost their way.
St. Francis of Assisi

A busy week, indeed.

From the 3rd floor of St. Peter's, I heard a commotion below: "Southpaw," one of the Manna Meal soup kitchen guests, was waving around his knife and the police were summoned. Six showed up and three of them had their guns drawn when I arrived on the scene. He's battled mental illness for quite sometime now.

We met Erika Nilsen, a Lutheran pastor who was leading a group of three dozen teenagers on a weeklong excursion through Detroit. We spoke to them on the riverfront about race and water shut-offs in the city. There were literally tens of thousands of Lutheran teens that invaded the city. Erika is the sister of Solveig Nilsen-Goodin, a dear friend of ours who lives in Portland, one of the pastors of the Wilderness Way Community.

We got a visit from C. John Hildebrand who came to the city to attend the Christian Peacemaker Teams Congress, held every other year at different cities all over the globe. We met C. John two years ago in Minneapolis while we were on our 75-day road trip all over North America and we've kept in touch ever since. He stayed with us and we had many good conversations and much laughter. Here he is in the back seat of our Corolla with 30 large pizzas that we were delivering to the Lutheran youth group.

Another attendee of the Christian Peacemaker Teams Congress and also someone we met two years ago on the road trip: Weldon Nisly, the (now) retired pastor of Seattle Mennonite Church, a Grandpa who does not stop traveling for the cause of Peace (he went to Iraq right after the U.S. invasion in 2003 and followed it up with return trips in 2010 and 2014).

From Friday to Sunday, we attended the Detroit Spirit & Roots gathering, a unique coming-together of leaders from three important spiritual traditions: Christianity, hip-hop and indigenous. The closing ceremony was on Belle Isle, a large island in the middle of the Detroit River. We planted a willow tree in honor of the late Charity Hicks, a leader in the struggle resisting water shut-offs. She was killed a year ago in a hit-and-run in New York City.

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