Ministry Highlight: Reconciliation Ministry
The reconciliation ministry’s focus comes from our understanding of scripture in action; specifically, God’s intent for the church to share in God’s ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18). Our mission is to support and enhance those that would seek to follow Christ’s example of tearing down the dividing wall of hostility separating us from others (Eph. 2:14).
The most visible example of the reconciliation ministry’s mission in the congregation is the Season of Reconciliation. The keystone aspect of the season is the adult education series built upon the prevailing theme of each year. This season was centered on a theme of breaking down our mental barriers about many things: spirituality, sexuality and gender, race and how we engage in conflict. The ministry also hosts a book study each year to bring these discussions into a different medium than traditional church and church study. Year after year, one of the most powerful and memorable offerings is the Witness to Reconciliation, in which, members of the congregation volunteer their own stories of reconciliation for the digestion of the entire body. These stories year after year are moving and valuable for the deliverer and the audience.
Another area sponsored by the ministry is the work of Restorative Circles. Trainings have been provided for a great many people both in the congregation but also community members and beyond. This work continues the mission of reconciliation by recognizing connection through dialogue. The reconciliation ministry also supports Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance’s Summit on Race and Inclusion, the Holland Pride festival, “Shakespeare Behind Bars,” Lighthouse Immigrant Advocates, scholarships for youth to attend events that further the mission of reconciliation, and other valuable efforts toward reconciliation.
This year presents opportunities for the ministry and the church to partner with other congregations for the mission of reconciliation. This is an exciting time as the call for reconciliation has been working in individual congregations for years, but now there is an intentional effort to work collaboratively in trust and support.
The members of the Reconciliation Ministry are: Tom Arendshorst, Laurie Baron, Josh Beard, Jane Dickie, John Koch, Paul Smith, and Lise Topp. We welcome suggestions from the congregation for new areas of exploration to extend God’s reconciling love.
~John Koch, Reconciliation Ministry chair