Steps toward a more peaceful yearFebruary 2017GP0|#8a249a56-6094-482a-a5d7-05460b1a2f3d;L0|#08a249a56-6094-482a-a5d7-05460b1a2f3d|DoveTales;GTSet|#bb9274b4-45fe-43f1-8b69-3df0b933cdb0;GPP|#a82c2124-212e-4f7a-b626-9a0c5a3534c2;GPP|#96e4d92c-656e-45f6-9cd5-ab8aed108e3c toward a more peaceful yearSteps toward a more peaceful yearBy Jason Boone



<p>What are your hopes for peace in 2017? Are they for a specific issue, country, or group of people? Most of us have certain "hot buttons" that drive us to do more and work harder. I have ideas on what peace topics perhaps should take priority over others, and so do you.</p><p>But after a tumultuous 2016, I believe the most important word for peacemakers is from Luke, chapter 10: "Jesus told them, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.'"</p><p>The need for reconciliation at home and abroad is urgent and growing. Now more than ever, those of us who believe that following Jesus means working for peace and justice, must engage the world around us. We must walk boldly into the places of pain, suffering, poverty and violence with the words of peace on our lips and the tools of peace at the ready. </p><p>The challenges ahead require that peacemakers take initiative in doing the work of the kingdom. As our nation becomes more polarized, we must be the ones who build bridges of reconciliation. As the scourges of poverty, addiction, and homelessness manifest in our communities, both urban and rural, we must engage in sacrificial ways, entering into creative partnerships and bringing different ways of being into difficult circumstances. As our world becomes more violent, we must witness to an alternative kingdom.</p><p>Jesus is at the center of this great work, and the church continues as a unique, irreplaceable vehicle for it. I'm committed in 2017 to the Peace and Justice Support Network providing tools for encouraging every church in Mennonite Church USA to embrace its calling as an active, engaged peace church. </p><p>I need your help as supporters of the Peace and Justice Support Network to carry these tools into churches across Mennonite Church USA. We need more workers for the harvest. Our country and the world is yearning for churches who can proclaim and demonstrate the love of Jesus for all creation. </p><p>One new tool we are introducing this year is Peace Circles. Peace Circles are a way for churches to support and encourage active peacemaking. Centered on Scripture and supported by community, Peace Circles help us become involved in concrete ways in peacemaking. Read more about Peace Circles in this issue of <em>Dove Tales</em>, and consider taking our free online training to learn how to operate a Peace Circle at your church. </p><p>Continue to pray for the Peace and Justice Support Network, Mennonite Church USA, and everyone engaged in the great work of reconciliation so desperately needed today. Pray for more workers for a peaceful harvest.<br></p><p>Peace,</p><p><br></p><p>Jason Boone</p><p>Coordinating Minister <br>Peace and Justice Support Network<br></p><p><br></p>