Monday, October 26, 2009

Podcast Schedule for Shalom National Summit

Live streaming sessions of the Shalom National Summit are free of cost:

Thursday, October 29

• 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Opening Session and Worship: Greetings from Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor of South Carolina, Mayor Bob Cobble of Columbia, with a sermon by Bishop Gregory Palmer, president of the Council of Bishops, and a report on the "State of Shalom" by Dr. Michael Christensen, National Director.

• 1:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. Session One: "Stepping Up to Shalom: "From Just as I Am to Justice I AM" with Dr. Christensen, Annie Allen, national program associate, and special guests Vien Truong, Green for All; and Steve Tamayo, organizer of ROAM Arts Cooperative, Rosebud Reservation.

• 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Session Two: "Prophetic Leadership and Shalom--Seeking Systemic Change," with Bishop Joseph Sprague (retired), who initially proposed Shalom; Jayda Jacques, founder of Nine Strong Women of Newark; Robert Linthicum, author of Building a People of Power; and various artists, including the Claflin University Gospel Choir.

Friday, October 30

• 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon. Session Three: "Stepping Up to Web Technology--Developing a Shalom Presence on the World Wide Web" with Ted Hart of Hart Philanthropic Services.

• 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. Session Four: "Building Shalom Training for the 21st Century" with the National Shalom Zone Training team.

• 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Shalom Banquet: "Shaloming Across Borders," with the Rev. Kelvin Sauls, assistant general secretary for congregational development and racial ethnic ministries at Global Ministries, and special guests, Maxine Clark Beach, Dean of Drew University School of Theology, and Dr. Robert Duncan, Jr., President, Bacone College.

Saturday, October 31

• 11:00 a.m. to 12: noon. Closing Worship: Bishop John Schol of Baltimore-Washington Area, preaching, with special music.

Each session will include music and incorporate visual presentation. Not broadcast will be workshops and site visits to Shalom ministries in the vicinity of Columbia.

For more information on the Shalom Summit go online to That site also offers detailed information on workshops and the schedule.

‘Stepping Up to Shalom’ National Summit Podcast

Communities of Shalom National Summit this week will be video streamed live from Columbia, South Carolina, beginning Thursday morning, October 29, at 9:30am EST (see schedule below).

If the purpose of a National Summit is to bring together representatives from a national network for a time of personal sharing, inspiration, team building and group training, then this year’s National Shalom Summit will fulfill its purpose and more through live webcasting to those who are unable to attend in person.
“When the General Board of Global Ministries offered to podcast the Summit, I was delighted,” said Dr. Christensen. “I knew this was a virtual sign and tangible indication that there was sufficient momentum in the Shalom movement to ‘step up’ to a new level of web technology for this once small grass roots initiative called ‘shalom zones.’ “

All four General Training Sessions plus the two worship services and Shalom Banquet will be video streamed through the online facilities of the General Board of Global Ministries, the mission agency of The United Methodist Church--a partner Communities of Shalom at Drew University and co-sponsor of the National Summit.

These sessions focus on how to ‘step up’ from social services to asset-based community development, and from ministries of mercy to seeking peace with justice. Specific sessions on prophetic leadership and ‘shaloming across borders’ as well as a glimpse of new ShalomZone training units and the use of web technology in developing Shalom's presence in the world will be webcast on Thursday, Friday and Saturday of this week.

Go directly to the GBGM link to view the National Shalom Summit live and free of cost on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Oct. 29-31.

For further information on the National Shalom Summit Podcast, read the GBGM press release:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

National Shalom Summit Starts this Week

Over 300 shalomers descend this week upon Columbia, South Carolina for the National Shalom Summit 2009.  And hundreds more will join us via live streaming on the internet October 28-31.

The purpose of a National Summit is to bring together representatives of our 104 Shalom sites for a time of sharing, inspiration, learning, networking and training.   Previous Summits were hosted in Stamford, Ct (1994), Charleston (1995), Philadelphia (1996), Los Angeles (1997), Houston (1998), Washington D.C. (2002), and Chicago (1997). 

The National Shalom Summit 2009 is hosted by the South Carolina Annual Conference which sponsors and supports over 30 individual shalom sites in its State?  Columbia, SC was chosen by the planning committee because of its unique rural Shalom sites and their prophetic witness to racial reconciliation and economic community development.  South Carolina was the first Annual Conference to adopt and adapt the urban ShalomZone concept to the rural context.

We reached our goal of 250 registrants by mid October, but another 50 daily registrants will be at the Summit.  This includes 30 Youth for Shalom, 15 Community Developers Associates, 10 program presenters and resource persons, representatives from many of our 104 Shalom sites, and Friends of Shalom. Together, over three days in Columbia, we will focus on the theme of “Stepping Up To Shalom” – Seeking Systemic Change through Community Development

Plenary sessions will feature national speakers who inspire and embody the theme. Practical workshops and local site visits will be offered on a variety of strategies and threads of shalom.  And there will be music for the soul, laughter for the body, and worship for the spirit. A Youth Component is planned as a separate track facilitated by the JustUs Youth program of the General Board of Global Ministries with full scholarship for 30 selected youth.

We start on Wednesday, at 7pm.  The local host committee planned an informal gathering and networking time in the Ballroom.  We will relax and enjoy the excellent jazz trio, Quiet Storm and comedian Mike Goodman. 

The planning committee worked hard to design two worship services, three networking opportunities, four general sessions, and stepping up workshops.  The Opening Plenary will begin at 9:30am on Thursday morning with greetings from Mayor Bob Coble, Bishops Mary Virginia Taylor John Schol, Gregory Palmer, and special guests.  After a short break, the Opening Worship service will commence with Rev. Tanya Bennett leading and Bishop Gregory Palmer preaching.  The full program schedule follows this welcome letter.  

We’ve added to the program brief remarks by Tanya Bennett and Jayda Jacques of Nine Strong Women—a new shalom team featured in the Sundance documentary “Brick City” about the Mayor’s war on drugs and gang violence in Newark, produced by Forest Whitaker.  We will show a 10 minute clip of this highly acclaimed series on Thursday night after the keynote address by Bishop Joseph Sprague.  

Special exhibits and display tables featuring Shalom sites, products, and resources will be showcased beginning Thursday morning.  Each Conference or Regional Center has been offered a display table to showcase the Shalom sites and opportunities for ministry in their area. Shalom products and resources from the National Shalom Resource Center at Drew are available for purchase.  We especially welcome members of the Wolakota Shalom team from Rosebud Reservation who brought artifacts and samples from their Oyate Art Market to display and sell. 

YouTube video clips from selected sites will be shown at the beginning and end of each general session, including:  Richmond Shalom Farms (VA), Gallatin Shalom Zone (TN), Deaf Shalom Zone (MD), Pharr Literacy Project (TX), Tree of Life Ministry (SD), Nine Strong Women (NJ), Bennettsville Cheraw Shalom (SC), and HopeHomes (Malawi).

The Summit will end on Saturday at 12:30pm after the closing worship with Bishop John Schol preaching and commissioning ministers of Shalom.  The Campaign for Shalom will be announced and a pledge offering taken during the service.

If you cannot cannot attend the Summit in person, you may participate with us online at: 

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bono thinks Obama may be the One

I enjoyed Bono's Op Ed piece in the New York Times today. 

Rebranding America  By BONO

In it he affirms the President for being selected for the Nobel Peace Prize, and praises America as potentially the world's leading partner in eliminating the three greatest threats to the global village: 1) EXTREME POVERTY, 2) EXTREME IDEOLOGY AND 3) EXTREME CLIMATE CHANGE.

As an Irishman, he calls for America to "rebrand, restart reboot" to fulfill the promises made in the year 2000 when the USA and other countries adopted the Millennium Goals. 

See  United Nations Millennium Development Goals

President Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize in part, according to Bono, because he's working to fulfill that pledge. 

Its a short article well worth the read:
Rebranding America  By BONO

There are many great links to Bono's Christian and humanitarian witness:

Here is a clip of Bono speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2006.

Here's a clip of U2 leading a rock and roll crowd, in prayer and song...

Here's a clip of some of his Christian beliefs:

And if you want to hear a good sermon on Bono and the Gospel by my friend and fellow U2 enthusiast, Rev. Jeff Markay:

Bio on Bono:Columnist Biography: Bono

Monday, October 05, 2009

U2 Concert at Giants Stadium

U2 Concert at Giants Stadium

Where the Streets Have No Name

Okay, I admit I’m a big fan of  Bono and  U2.  I love how they blend compelling lyrics, delightful sights and sounds, top performance, social commentary, and humanitarian causes in a seamless liturgy of a rock concert/love fest in huge stadiums.  I  own three previous concert tour DVD’s  but had never attended a live event until last week at Giants Stadium.   

It was my good friend’s birthday.  Jeff Markay had given me Bono-style sun glasses for my birthday a few years ago, and we had gone together to a Bruce Springsteen concert last year, so this year was an opportunity to experience together U2’s 360 Tour.  

At first blush we considered wearing our clerical albs to the concert and offering a pre-concert ‘U2Charist'
in the parking lot for ‘whosoever will’ among the devoted tail gate party crowd. But after floating the idea out to family and friends, they unanimously said “Not cool”, particularly my teenage daughters; so we went in our ‘secular’ attire simply as U2thiasts.  Early enough to enjoy burritos near a relatively unknown pond in the Meadowlands adjacent to the parking lot of Giant Stadium. 
Once we found our way to the third tier of the Stadium and settled into our seats, I called my new best friend, Tom, on his cell phone to see if he could get us a back stage pass.  Tom was working lights in one of the legs of the tall spider stage and was unable to get us in.  “Security was too tight,” he said. 
U2's "360 Degree" tour takes its name from the 150-foot circular stage and high tower that imposes itself in its various venues.  The multimillion dollar transformer was a wonder to behold. 360 degree video screens, four spider legs for lighting, a Blackberry-sponsored steeple of fire and smoke (for better reception?). It looked like a big green spaceship to me, or ‘a close encounter of the third kind’ of mother ship capable of taking many fans with the band to a place ‘where the streets have no name.’  The New York Times described the set as “concert in the round under a claw-like, spired structure that’s part insect, part spacecraft, part cathedral.”
The New York Times: MUSIC REVIEW: “U2 in the Round, Fun With a Mission”
Back stage Tom told me that it took the road crew of 200 people 40 hours to assemble the huge Spider-like stage on the field of the Stadium.  (It only takes 40 stage hands a few hours to assemble Bruce Springsteen’s stage). 
“It will also take us 40 plus hours to take down the stage,” Tom explained on the phone.  
“Then how do you put it up and take it down in time for the next concert, since U2 does a show every night during their world tour?” I asked.  
“Well, there three of them:  one is going up, one is coming down, and one is in use at all times on the tour.”
I tried to calculate the cost of three mother ships plus 200 paid crew members times 40 hours @ union wages times 20 concerts in two months.  And then calculate what 80,000 ticket-paying fans each night generate in revenue to pay for the extravagance.  It kept me preoccupied until the concert began. 
Finally, after the warm up act, Bono and his Band processed from the back and mounted the platform.  I was struck by the liturgical structure of the whole concert.  It began with an introit, an opening song—“You are so Beautiful” and then an invocation from Bono: 
“HELLO NEW JERSEY!”  he shouted out.  Here we are back in Giants Stadium--our 79th concert in Giants stadium.  We’re not sure we can pay all the songs we plan to play tonight, but we have a space ship, and we have places to go. But we’re not going anywhere without YOU…?”
The crowd roared their willingness and got on board. 
Over the course of 2.5 hours, they played lots of familiar songs and some new ones:
"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"

I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight (David O'Reilly version)


City Of Blinding Lights

Beautiful Day


Then, an incredibly delivered song from their new album, “No Line on the Horizon” became a 21st century prayer—a call out to God-- lifting the soul to a higher place:  
"Unknown Caller" began with a chant with Bono calling and the crowd responding:
Oh, oh
Oh, oh
Oh, oh

Oh, oh…
Sunshine, sunshine
Sunshine, sunshine
Oh, oh
Oh, oh…

I was lost between the midnight and the dawning
In a place of no consequence or company
3:33 when the numbers fell off the clock face
Speed-dialing with no signal at all[1]

Go, shout it out, rise up
Oh, oh
Escape yourself and gravity
Hear me, cease to speak that I may speak
Shush now
Oh, oh
Force quit and move to trash[2]

I was right there at the top of the bottom
On the edge of the known universe
Where I wanted to be
I had driven to the scene of the accident
And I sat there waiting for me

Restart and re-boot yourself
You're free to go
Oh, oh
Shout for joy if you get the chance
Password, you, enter here, right now

Oh, oh
You know your name so punch it in
Hear me, cease to speak that I may speak
Shush now
Oh, oh
Then don't move or say a thing

Well, you really had to be there to chant with Bono and be transported to a different place (that’s right, to that place where the streets have no name).

Then, another unbelievably spiritual thing happened:  Giants Stadium became still and silent.  Slowly and deliberately, and ever so quietly, Bono started singing “Amazing Grace.”  More amazing was the crowd of 80,000 singing with him.    ‘Amazing Grace how sweet the sound’ segued into my favorite song (you guessed it): “Where the Streets Have No Name.”  followed by “Beautiful Day”.
As always at a U2 concert, Bono called the congregation to faith and social activism. The song “Walk On” was dedicated to Aung San Suu Kyi, the opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate under house arrest in Myanmar.  Dozens of her supporters—Amnesty volunteers we heard--paraded onstage and around the circle with her photograph.  He also called out for salaam for Iran and Iraq.
Then, unexpectedly, Bishop Desmond Tutu appeared larger than life on the 360 degree screen of the Mother Space with a message for us all to hear: “You are the ones who marched for civil rights; you are the ones who brought down appartied; and you are the ones who are needed now!”
The Bishop praised resistance movements across geography and history, pleaded for aid for Africa, and introduced the “One” Campaign.
The liturgically designed rock concert culminated in U2’s signature ‘One’ set.
One love
One life
When it's one need
In the night
One love
We get to share it
Leaves you baby if you
Don't care for it

Too late
To drag the past out into the light
We're one, but we're not the same
We get to
Carry each other
Carry each other

Have you come here for forgiveness
Have you come to raise the dead
Have you come here to play Jesus
To the lepers in your head

When the moment came during the song for all of us to get out our cell phones to light up the stadium, we did so in unison and with a sense of a mass movement and global community becoming One. Imagine 80,000 points of light waving slowly back and forth in Giants Stadium as Bono shouts it out.
One love
One blood
One life
You got to do what you should
One life
With each other
One life
But we're not the same
We get to
Carry each other
Carry each other


I knew my Blackberry was emitting as much light as it could from its limited screen.  But then I looked into the screen of Jeff’s iPhone and beheld a bright candle flickering in the dark.  No way.  An iPhone application of a fully flickering bright candle.  Over the years, fans have moved from holding candles, to cigarette lighters, to cell phones, and now to virtual flames on iPhones in the air.  
For the encore, Bono returned to the stage in a red jacket that lit up along its seams, and sang through a wheel within a wheel microphone “Ultra Violet (Light My Way)”--apparently a love song to his congregation in the Stadium.
I watched him through binoculars as he left the arena, flashing his smile and a peace sign, and shaking only one hand—the young man in a wheel chair who had waited for him at the Gate.
The next day, while I was still basking in the after-glow of the concert experience, I received by email from Jeff these video clips of the concert at Giant Stadium and elsewhere:

She's The One / Desire (Bruce Springsteen)

Bono singing Amazing Grace as intro into Where the Streets Have No Name...Amazing.

A more complete tutu clip but without the song...

Another clip of Tutu at another concert:

Music Review from the New York Times:
U2 Praise & Worship: 40/Streets  with Bono preaching 
Concert photos:

Jim Wallace’s blog:
It’s a rare thing to see and hear someone who embodies the values of Shalom/Salaam/Peace.  For me, at least, Bono is the One.

[1] The lyrical reference to 3:33 probably refers to the Bible verse of Jeremiah 33:3: "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." U2's lead singer Bono said in an interview with Rolling Stone, "It's known as 'God's telephone number.'" Check out the background of the cover of All That You Can't Leave Behind.

[2] 'Force quit and move to trash' is a reference to Mac computers crashing, and 'reboot yourself' and 'password' are similar computer references, used here, I think, as prompts to pray, repent, have faith, meditate, be silent.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

United Methodist Global AIDS Fund

It came through last week! 

A $20,000 grant from United Methodist Global AIDS Fund for WorldHope Corps to provide another year of operation of our Hope Home program in Malawi.   Together--Mzuzu United Methodist Church in Malawi and many sponsors in the USA--we are feeding and clothing over 100 orphaned and vulnerable children, and keeping them alive and in school during this our third year of operation.

This is an international answer to prayer.  Pastor Copeland joins me in giving thanks to God:

Rev Michael,
I thank God for the donation towards the HOPE HOMES and HOPE SCHOLARSHIP from UMC Global AIDS Fund to enable us to run for another year.  Special thanks to you, Christian, Jessica, Don, and all friends that have considered us for this precious support. You are the father appointed by God for these many orphans.  Please continue.    Copeland

Also, here's an inspiring story from Malawi that was featured last week on Good Morning America .  Take a look: