Through Faith, Engagement and Awareness, congregations can Respond, Narrate, Observe and Transform active violence!
What creates safety? When do we feel safe and why? Does our faith have anything to say about how we understand safety and how we put into practice habits of safekeeping in our homes, churches and communities?
MCC U.S. and RAWtools have partnered on a Sunday School curriculum that will help congregations consider the balance of physical safety with a commitment to nonviolence in the face of active violence. In this 12-week study guide, FEAR NOT: Creating a plan to respond to active violence, congregations in the U.S. consider what they believe about situations of active violence and how they can respond effectively and faithfully as followers of Jesus Christ.
“Scripture repeatedly call’s God’s people to ‘fear not.’ In Isaiah 41 it is followed by, ‘for I am with you.’ This curriculum is an attempt to have congregations wrestle with what it means to be faithful and ‘with’ their communities as God, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus are with us, even to those who may feel the need to harm us. As Micah calls us to turn swords into plowshares, he also invites us to a Vine and Fig Tree where we are in fear of no other (Micah 4:4),” says RAWtools Director and co-author of the curriculum, Mike Martin.
Congregations will encounter paradox and tension as they struggle authentically with questions of safety, nonviolence and faithfulness. The goal of this curriculum is not to prescribe answers but rather to raise important questions that will propel a congregation toward making a plan for its unique context.
The first 10 sessions of this curriculum survey historical experiences and theological motivations for nonviolent responses to violence. The session topics include:
- The context we have inherited
- How fear drives us
- The vulnerability of hospitality
- Power and privilege related to nonviolence
- Restorative practices
- Collective trauma
- Mental health
- The spiritual discipline of nonviolence
The final two sessions guide congregations in creating an action plan based on their needs, values and resources – a policy that is unique and appropriate to their context.
The curriculum is available for free download using the form on this page.
For more information, or to invite someone to meet with your congregation, email Jes Stoltzfus Buller, peace education coordinator for MCC U.S. at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Mike Martin, executive director of RAWtools at email@example.com.
This curriculum is written primarily considering the harm of gun violence. It is not meant to be used in contexts of sexual assault.