Sunday, April 29, 2012

On this very day...20 years ago

Today marks the 20th Anniversary Weekend of Communities of Shalom

This Very Day--Sunday, April 29—is the 20th Anniversary of Shalom!

Friends of Shalom are here in Tampa for the General Conference of the United Methodist Church. 

This afternoon, from 5-6, in the Big Tent (across the street from the Convention Center) hosted by the Methodist Federation for Social Action, friends of shalom will gather to sing, testify, pray, and tell stories of shalom work in their communities.

Bishop Joseph Sprague (Instigator of Shalom in 1992 and still active in the Greater Hilltop Shalom Zone in Columbus, Ohio) will offer inspiration followed by anointing with oil for the difficult work ahead. 

On Sunday night during the 7pm celebration of ministry service in the Convention Center, Communities of Shalom will present its Report to GC and show the new video “Shalom is still on the loose!”
Watch it live at the General Conference Live .

THIS VERY DAY, 20 years ago, on April 29, 1992, the long-awaited trial of three policemen accused of beating motorist Rodney King was occurring in Los Angeles Country.  The brutal beating was caught on video tape, and shown repeated on national television stations leaving no doubt that three police officers used excessive force in subduing Rodney King while their supervisor looked on.  Yet, an all-white jury in a suburb outside of LA acquitted the officers. 

Public outcry was immediate.  Fires erupted in LA for three days after the verdict; there was looting and riots, chaos, civil unrest, and a social uprising in the racially divided city. Fourteen died, many arrested, millions of dollars of damage to property.  According to CNN, April 29, 1992 “ignited one of the worst race riots in US history” (CNN documentary, The Beating of Rodney King, April 29, 2012).

General Conference was in session in Louisville in April/May 1992.  The presiding Bishops, amazingly, set aside the Agenda of the Day to discuss how The United Methodist Church might respond to the civil unrest in LA, and threatening to spread across the country.  When Rev. James Lawson, civil rights leader and UM pastor in LA, spoke for the Cal-Pac Conference delegation, he gave an eyewitness report to what was happening in Los Angeles.  After a call for prayer and fasting, the next morning, Pastor Joseph Sprague (later Bishop Sprague), made a motion to create in downtown LA a “shalom zone” where health, healing, harmony and wholeness could emerge as neighbors worked together to seek the shalom of their community.

What started in one square mile in Los Angeles in 1992 has now developed into an international network of over 150 Shalom Zones worldwide; and a Shalom Zone Training® product that continues to equip new shalom teams to transform their communities.

Sunday, April 29, is the 20th Anniversary of Shalom to the day—this very day!

If you are in Tampa for General Conference of the UMC on Sunday, join us under the big Shalom Tent across from the Convention Center to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Communities of Shalom.

For more information on Communities of Shalom:

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Register for 20th Anniversary Shalom Summit:  Shalom Summit 2012