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:  
http://gbgm-umc.org/shalom