You Can't Stop the River: Nonviolent Community Change

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YCSTR Training 2009


Efforts to improve the community - reduce violence - build peace - all too often dry up or get stopped along the way.

If you believe God yearns for more peace and less violence - and you want your congregation to have a spiritually powerful ministry for justice and peace, focused on real change in the community - Join us for You Can't Stop the River.



Why "You Can't Stop the River"

Many congregations are ready  to take  a next step in community outreach and leadership for justice  and peace, but aren't sure what's next. What does proactive, hopeful  action  look like?   Efforts to improve the community - reduce violence  - build peace - all too often dry up or get stopped along  the way.

Summary/Report of You Can't Stop the River 2009


• Build skills and confidence for community leadership
• Worship together and study scripture as a source of strength for community change
• Explore the history & philosophy of nonviolent community organizing and mobilization
• Reflect on the experience you bring and exchange stories and wisdom with others
• With God's help, prepare plans for what happens next in your community

Who Should Come?

Ideal participants are people ready  to move  into action when they get home. They come from groups that  feel urgent  about addressing violence  and injustice  with the innocence of doves and  the cunning of serpents.

We recommend that  you register with a team  of 2-4 people from your faith or community group,  or from the same neighborhood or community.

Teams are encouraged and  will be formed  if individuals  wish to register without a team  connection. During the training,  teams will work together to apply and  test  what we are learning to their situations at home.

What we are aiming for: Many individuals  attend training events only to arrive home with little support or accountability for implementing their new skills and ideas. We wish to raise  the probability  that  the energy and  information  generated at the workshop will have  a ripple effect in the community, yielding action  for reducing violence.

What to expect

The weekend will be highly participatory.  The seminar includes activities  focused on getting rooted in your community, understanding the forces at play, building a sense of biblical/theological aspects of the work to reduce violence  and  increase peace, and examining change efforts in a strategic perspective (what kinds of things  need to happen first - second - third; how to get others excited and involved, etc).  Participants will examine what it takes to develop a specific, focused effort for nonviolent  change, connecting what we learn to experiences back  at home. Build on what you know, practice spirituality + skills + strategy, and  take your community ministries to the next level!

A common frame of reference for community change will come from exploring the Principles and Steps for Kingian nonviolent community reconciliation used in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. Time will be provided to plan for proactive, hopeful action when you get home.

Our time will combine the practical and the prayerful. While together, we will practice prayer and other activities designed to help build spiritual power for change. As Christians, we are at our best when we are ourselves in powerful contact with God's healing, and can bring that power to our community work.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Revelation 22

For more information or to schedule a training, contact:
Matt Guynn - coordinator of peace witness