Calling Young Adults of Color!

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Phase Two trip leaders on the Mount of Olives (Jerusalem, 2017)

ELCA Young Adults and the Peace Not Walls Campaign are excited to announce the dates of SIX trips for young adults of color who are interested in visiting the Holy Land. These trips are a part of the Peace Not Walls Young Adult Engagement Strategy – Phase Two. Each trip is led by a pair or trio of young adults of color who applied to be trip leaders in 2016. They have traveled to the Holy Land and have been engaged in learning, networking, and support over the past two years in preparation for leading trips in 2019.

Trips will explore issues of faith, justice, and culture. Trips are designed by each team to reflect their gifts and passions. We practice accompaniment with each trip, not focusing on serving or otherwise “doing”. We are concerned with engaging people in the region for the purpose of relationship building.

Each trip will have different requirements, costs, and application procedures. Select from one of the dates below to discover which trip is best for you!

  1. March 1-12 2019: Led by Rev. Tuhina Rasche and Mae Helen Jackson
  2. June 5 – 16 2019: Led by Maya Mineoi, Pedro Rivera, and Xavier Thomas
  3. June 6- 16 2019: Led by Andrea Richardson and Antoine Cummings
  4. June 21- July 2 2019: Led by Damaris Allen and Rev. Nathan Allen
  5. July 10- 20, 2019: Led by Harleigh Boldridge and Bahati Mwitula
  6. November 2019: Led by Nicole Newman, Corey Holmes, and Rev. Brady Radford

Contact us for more information!

 

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The Power of Presence

By: Harleigh Boldridge (Decorah, IA)

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In his book A Life of Being, Having, and Doing Enough*, Wayne Muller explores what we, as social beings, can do to support  one another in the event of extreme trauma. To the reader he says, “Perhaps the greatest wealth you possess, the most precious, valuable gift you can ever hope to offer any human being, is this one, simple, true thing: You. Your presence.” After reading this in one of my social work classes, I thought I understood Muller’s philosophy of how we can support others through intense sorrow, sudden trauma, or simply overwhelming life events, but recent experiences have renewed my understanding and given it a new light. Continue reading

The Holy and The Profane

By: Nicole Newman (Washington D.C.)

Israeli soldiers tinker with armor

Adjust guns on hips

Too young to know what damage

A gun that size can do

They watch with scared hard eyes

In some, there is a youthful softness

Like young men in the states drafted

Before they know there are other options

And I wonder who decided who needs to be watched and who are the watchers

And maybe these soldiers like this service

Maybe duty and country are constructs

Only foreign to the descendants of former slaves

Maybe our service looks different

Maybe these soldiers like the power of being able to decide who come and goes

Who loves and lives and dies in an instance

The young girl dead from 5 bullets to the chest

Didn’t adjust

I watch Muslim woman both covered with a hijab and in skinny jeans and think there is something oddly beautiful about tradition with a modern twist

I wonder did her hijab come loose as her body hit the floor

Or was it wrapped so tightly it did not move

What moves here??

What is the currency?? Is it blood?? Is it nationalism? What is being held so tightly??

Land?

I have come to hear from living stones

Rocks that will cry out and yet there is something

Both holy and profane about this place

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Deep Understanding Comes Through Deep Connection

By: Pedro André Lazo Rivera, Student at Tufts University (Somerville, MA)

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I tried my best to end up anywhere else on Earth, but there I was. After answering an email from a person I hadn’t spoken to in two years, scrambling to finish my semester weeks in advance and dropping everything with a half a moment’s notice, I was halfway around the world, surrounded by a team of strangers, and wondering if I was in over my head. As we began to make our final descent towards Tel Aviv, The White City revealed itself to us. It had been almost a year since I had left Puerto Rico, the small Caribbean island I had lived in my whole life, to study in the United States. I had gone a long way from home, but I never thought I’d find myself here, about to walk over the most disputed soil on Earth, hovering back and forth between a young Jewish country willing to do anything to survive and an old Arab nation that has stood resolute for millennia. Continue reading

Our Redeemer Lives

By: Rev. Nathan Allen, Clairemont Lutheran Church/ Iglesia Luterana Clairemont (San Diego, CA)

Peace Not Walls.

This has been a ministry of the ELCA for more than a decade now.  People have been consistently working toward peace for many more years than that throughout Palestine and Israel, yet it seems that there is no progress made.  In many ways it was emotionally devastating to witness the injustice and tragedy; there is a sense of helplessness in the face of problems that are much bigger than we can grasp.

I am reminded of the story of Job in the Old Testament.  A righteous man before God, yet faced with terrible suffering, his children all killed, losing absolutely all of his wealth, and finally being covered with sores on his whole body to the point that he could find no comfort, no rest.  Job felt that God was unjustly punishing him, while the interpretation of his three friends was that he must have done something evil in order to merit such wrath from God.  Job felt tormented by God, tormented by his friends, even his wife told him just to curse God and die.

Through it all Job kept coming back to God, angry yes, confused and hurt, yes; but he kept returning to God expecting more, hoping for justice, calling out in frustration!  Where are you God!  Why would you do this to me!  How could you let this happen!  How could you let a 15 year old girl be shot by soldiers, how could people be forced into refugee camps for three generations, why do you let someone get to the point where a suicide bomb becomes an option, how could you let settlers steal land and resources, why don’t you do something about these boys and girls getting locked in prison, why Lord, why have you forsaken these people?

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Dulled Magic: Embodied Resistance

By: Antoine R. Cummins (Forest City, IA)

My recent trip to the Holy land left a distinctively tasteless flavor within my spirit. The sharp and steady sun overhead mirrored, if not amplified, the tense realities on the ground that so many call home; white hot.

This was not my first time to Palestine, but it was the first time that I was able to be fully present and alert; heart properly prepared for the experience. On this recent trip, I traveled with a group consisting of young adults of color from across the ELCA. As I reflect now, I realized that to have been in community with the individuals who made up the group alone was enough to prime my perspective to cope with the all too personal images and stories of injustice and discrimination.

Not only that, but the fact that we were led by two of the most powerful women that I have encountered within our Church provided me with ample space to explore how our communities would begin to heal themselves if only inherited beliefs and limitations made way for reimagining and courage: Rozella White and Karin Brown, no truer embodiment of divine feminine, but that is an entirely different reflection in and of itself.

Starting out as a group of acquaintances we traveled. We listened. We loved. We prayed. We communed. And despite all the stimuli and complexity, we were encouraged to be present with each other and with God. In the profane, we found sacredness and I will be ever thankful for the opportunity.

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Defining Identity

By: Rev. Tuhina Rasche (San Carlos, CA)

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Rev. Tuhina Rasche walking along the separation/security wall in Bethlehem, Palestine.

As a second generation Indian-American woman, I often times struggle with my identity in multiple spaces and how my story is told into these spaces. This is both tragic and comical, as much of my work and ministry deals with the perception of identities within church settings. But identity is extremely complicated; what are the labels with which we use to self-identify, but also, what are the labels that are then placed upon us by outside forces? Who gets to tell our story? As a person who longs for a sense of place in the world, how a story is told and who tells a story matters a great deal to me.

But what happens when your identity is controlled by outside forces that strip away your humanity on a multitude of levels? What happens when the words that define your flesh are taken away from you? When your sense of place becomes literally dislocated and your own home becomes a place of wilderness? What happens when your narrative, the ability to tell your story, is taken away from you?

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