April 12, 2019

Deep Peace

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:58 am by Rev. Thomas Perchlik

In ministry, I nurture harmony, wholeness and integrity. In one word, Peace.

For example, when our nation was gearing up for war with Iraq in 2001 and early 2002, I was unequivocally opposed. At least one member in my congregation was supportive of military action in general and that war in specific. Many more were uncertain. I listened to all people carefully. This openness I later came to learn was key to creating a culture of trust, starting Creative Interchange and engaging in Appreciative Inquiry.

On Veterans Day, we honored those in the congregation who were veterans. In the sermon that day, I explained the position of those who valued our armed forces, as well my vision of just limits on war. In that context, I told why I believed the United States should go no further than Afghanistan, where we would be entangled for decades. I checked in with my pro-military church-member afterward. He disagreed with me on my assessment of the situation but said that it was “a very good sermon.” Part of all good ministry is the ability to disagree in love.

At Christmastime, our worship services invoked a theme of Deep Peace, using the justice-based understandings of ‘shalom.’ We encouraged daily practices of peacemaking and peacebuilding. In February of 2002, I marched with many congregants and friends in a snow-storm to protest the war. I spoke about the ethical and the spiritual reasons to oppose war and build peace. Part of Appreciative Inquiry is to build a positive vision of the future and then develop practices for getting there. In a congregation of 150 or 450 the principles are the same.

Through all this, that conservative member of my church remained active and respected in our UU congregation. He told me he liked my sense of humor and my kindness. A few years later, when he was in the hospital, the caring visits by me and many others in the church moved him deeply. He said that the acceptance of the church helped his healing. I have found that in a large congregation the challenge is to create integration between the many layers so that such persons are not lost.

In 1964, the pacifist, Vera Brittain, said, “Our task today is to find a method of helping and healing which provides a revolutionary constructive substitute for war.” As a Unitarian Universalist minister, I balance the integrity of the individual and the wholeness of the congregation to build Beloved Community and Deep Peace.


1 Comment »

  1. Nancy E Chamberlain said,

    In today’s conflicted society, I find it difficult “to build a positive vision of the future and then develop practices for getting there.” In fact, it is not only difficult, but it is also downright scary. Maybe your next blog could supply some useful measures your readers could take to soften our fears. And, yes, I do vote. I have even protested the war by marching, carrying peace signs, for over two years.

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