AKRON, Pa. – A newly released Sunday school curriculum invites pacifists and veterans to walk with one another on a common journey toward peace.
Returning Veterans, Returning Hope: Seeking Peace Together is a six-week series designed to assist congregations to think theologically and practically about war’s trauma, healing from trauma and Jesus’ way of peace.
The curriculum is written by Mennonite peace leaders Jason Boone and Titus Peachey and Iraq War veteran Evan Knappenberger, a student at Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Va. Boone is coordinating minister of the Peace and Justice Support Network, a partnership between Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Mission Network, and Peachey is peace education coordinator at Mennonite Central Committee U.S.
In a recent blog posting for Mennonite World Review, Boone and Peachey reflected on some of the issues raised in the curriculum.
“Veterans who engaged in the horrors of combat or witnessed such horrors can carry the physical, emotional and spiritual wounds of war far beyond the length of their service,” they wrote. For some veterans, these wounds include “moral injury,” or “ … the wounding of conscience that can leave veterans with guilt, shame and feeling like an enemy of God …”
Building communities between historic peace churches and veterans may seem strange, Boone and Peachey wrote. “But it surely is no stranger than the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus’ clarion explanation of who it is we are called to love.”
Peachey noted that one lesson in the series emphasizes this theme: “As a society, we have failed to find alternatives to our persistent use of bombs, tanks and bullets. So we all share responsibility for the wounds and scars that veterans bring home.”