Richard Michael, Interim Pastor Big Spring United Lutheran Church, discussed his recent travel to the Holy Land. Having led several groups over the years, he described the sites the group visited, the orientation to the trip for participants and the benefit of the trip for participants. For him and individuals in the group, the arrival to the Holy Land was “coming home” since the sites (cities and roads) are familiar to Christians through their reading of scriptures. In addition, Michael discussed the political realities which exist. Such a trip helps pastors to preach and teach more effectively and assists participants to reflect more critically when reading scripture and listening to sermons.
In the second of two interviews (the first on immigrating to the United States), Odila describes the circumstances of his arrest, imprisonment, brutalizing, and eventual escape. He was apprehended while working with the Red Cross in the Republic of Congo because he opposed the use of children as soldiers in Congo’s civil war, some as young as seven or eight. He continued his counseling during the 17 years he lived in an immigration camp in Zambia.
Recorded live on Sunday, May 6, at St. James Lutheran Church, Gettysburg.
Justine Odila talks about his journey from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the United States. While in the Congo, he worked to help child soldiers to return to school, their families and mental stability as well as helping other young children to not become soldiers in the first place. This work resulted in him being arrested but he escaped to Zambia where he lived in a refugee camp for 17 years where he carried assisting those around him. After a 5-year vetting process, he was finally able to come to the United States via a resettlement program. He presently works at Walmart, works part-time as a mental health counselor, and attends classes at the community college.
To learn more about the Democratic Republic of the Congo you can begin here:
Phil Roth talks about his experience as a volunteer in the PAX program sponsored by the Mennonite Church as his alternative service for the military in the mid-1950s. He described the history of the program as well as the challenges for him and his fellow workers.
Lou Charest, Manager for University Engagement for Catholic Relief Services, describes the current global refugee crisis and explains why Catholic social teaching, as well as Pope Francis, calls us to welcome migrants and refugees. He offers suggestions for how local communities can provide support, from encouraging legislation to linking with refugee families.
Dr. Maria Erling, Professor of American Church History, ULS, and author, “The Augustana Story” sets the Lutheran World Federation Assembly, held in Windhoek, Namibia in the context of justice and reconciliation in Namibia and the abused women in the Congo.
Dr. David Crowner, Professor Emeritus, Gettysburg College and Co-Chair, Project Gettysburg-Leon, describes how charitable organizations can avoid simple charity, if this means patronizing those they serve, and making them dependent; and instead aim for sustainable development. In other words, they help people help themselves. Project Gettysburg-Leon has established eight criteria for this process. Most import is the need to listen and build partnerships.
Dr. Donnella, Chaplain of the College at Gettysburg College, shared his thoughts on Black Lives Matter, Immigration, Inter-religious dialogue, and Pope Francis. While he expressed his hopes in light of these topics, he also was saddened by the lack of religious and civil tolerance during the recent political issues in the United States.
Former Gettysburg Seminary student Ivan Belanji discusses the Lutheran church in Serbia and Slovakia, and describes his study at the seminary in Bratislava.
Dr. Vincent Evener, Visiting Instructor in Reformation and Lutheran Studies at the Gettysburg Seminary discusses his choice of the ten top stories/events in religion for 2015. These include: The visit of Pope Francis, the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, issues of violence in particular the A.M.E. church killings in Charleston, South Carolina and terrorism, and immigration. He highlighted his concern for cooperation, openness, constructive endeavors to counter the rhetoric of suspicion and hate.