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Reconciliation Working Group gathers people for "Healing the Wounds of History"

The Reconciliation Working Group of the Hawai‘i Conference United Church of Christ sponsored a Lecture and Courageous Conversation titled "Healing the Wounds of History" in the sanctuary of Church of the Crossroads in Honolulu on Friday, November 11, the day when Veterans' Day and Armistice Day are commemorated.

As the past haunts us and contributes to the unrest, division, and the communal and personal trauma of today, people gathered around the question: How do we find our way forward to a more peaceful world?


The conversation started with an interview by Linda Rich (Justice and Witness Missional Team Chair, member of Church of the Crossroads) of Fr. Michael Lapsley, an activist, peacemaker, Anglican priest, who is the founder of the Institute for Healing of Memories. At the beginning of Fr. Michael's sharing, he asserts that we will all be wounded and we will all wound others over our lifetime, so we must ask, "How will we respond?" noting that the key step to healing is acknowledgment.

Three local leaders joined the conversation, adding their personal experiences and reflections.

Meleanna Meyer, Artist and Hawaiian Activist, brought with her replicas of murals that she painted with other artists. The murals, which are replicas of a much larger piece, make up two back-to-back sides of an installation about 10 feet long. As she explains how the one red side came about through painting away the pain, she shares, “I always thought it was Hawaiian pain, but it’s universal.” The reverse side shows an image of greens, teeming with life, that Meleanna explains was painted by the group of artists after the red side, as a response and resolution.

Rev. Amy Wake, who is the Pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church and leader of Acts of Repentance Ho‘ike Pono series, in her sharing stresses the importance of personal transformation saying, "We can’t just say we’re sorry. We have to do something. We have to become something new. It’s not just about actions. It’s about changing our minds and spirits."

Jim Shields, former veteran, of Veterans for Peace shares a jarring statistic. Since 9/11, 30,000 veterans have died by suicide. That’s four times the amount of soldiers that have died during combat in wars since. Jim reminds us of the physical, psychological, and moral injuries that are left by war.

Joyclynn Costa, a member of the Reconciliation Working Group, flew to Honolulu from Maui to attend the lecture. Joyclynn shares, "As an island person, I did not think at first that Fr. Michael would be my style or approach. Let me be the first to say I was wrong. He brings to the conversation space for us to actually have an open and honest conversation with ourself in order to find the words for others. I appreciated Meleanna's mural to remind us not to just gloss over the past, Amy Wake for the courage to face the history and begin the process of repentance (something that hasn't come up in our own discussions as the Reconciliation Working Group yet which I believe we need to explore in our own Conference), and Jim Shields for his raw personal stories and the call for peace. Let us join hands and be in prayer together."


Photos courtesy of Kristen Young and David Takagi.

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