Tag Archives: diversity

Peace and a Conference

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, June 19, 2016


Peace and a Conference

I’ve been concentrating on peace for some time. Peace, personal definitions of peace, and harmony amid diversity. The last few days I spent at our state conference celebration in my denomination. I’ve been continuing the conversation of peace, just as I’ve tried to do for the past few months.

It is fascinating to see how peace (or, the lack of peace) can affect different individuals. I have not had specific discussions with people since last weekend, since the shooting in Orlando. I haven’t wished to intrude on people’s grief. However, I would like to offer an alternative to the fear and anxiety that many people feel.

The conference I just attended had diverse people from all over the state. Plus, the keynote speaker had returned from Orlando the day before speaking before the assembled conference. What an opportunity to mingle with many different people. What a chance to hear different viewpoints and see a variety of different ways of dealing with adversity and grief.

However, the conference celebration was not all grieving and adversity. Heavens, no! There was a good deal of celebrating and worship, besides.

What kind of personal definition of peace could people who attended the conference give? I suspect these personal definitions of peace are as individual as each person who gave them.

A wonderful opportunity to gather together, so much diversity in one place. God willing, help each of us as we scatter from the gathering downstate. Each of us can continue the conversation of peace. Please God, we all can do something helpful. Say something encouraging. Be something hopeful.

What is peace to you? What is your personal definition of peace? Please God, each of us has the opportunity to say something, do something, and be something. We all can #PursuePEACE in our own ways.


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Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza  And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

PEACE is Harmony—Pass It On!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, April15, 2016


PEACE is Harmony—Pass It On!

Today was Friday, April 15. Today was the day of the Peace Breakfast for the Chicago suburbs of Morton Grove and Niles.

Fifteen people attended this breakfast, which was primarily an opportunity for fellowship and conversation among the diverse religious leaders and local government representatives from both communities. This whole area is so culturally, ethnically and religiously diverse that I initiated a Peace Breakfast to bring people together. And, continue the conversation about peace and harmony.

I consider it so fitting that I highlight another personal definition of PEACE from the Muslim Community Center in Morton Grove today. (Thank you, Dilnaz, for your kind invitation to come and talk with people at the MCC!)

Sabah Khan’s personal definition: “PEACE is harmony—which I can pass on to the rest of the humanity. (one at a time, to each individual)”  

Sabah’s definition is so much a part of what I was striving to do today with the Peace Breakfast. As Sabah wrote this down, almost two weeks ago, I had no idea this definition would come up today.

What a wonderful reminder for me—for all of us—that PEACE does start with me. And with you. With each one of us, passing peace, harmony and friendship one at a time, to each individual. When someone trips or falls, offer them a hand up. If some stranger on the street needs a break, why not consider extending your hand?

Gracious, merciful God, open my eyes and let me see opportunities to promote peace and harmony. Help me—help all of us—to pass it on. In Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.


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Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza  And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

(Thanks to everyone at the Muslim Community Center in Morton Grove, for making this week of personal definitions of PEACE possible.)

Balance Between Solitude and Activity

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, December 1, 2015

winter road at night

Balance Between Solitude and Activity

Today’s reading talked of the delicate balance between solitude—what I call “alone time,” and activity. I used to like very much being in a crowd, and become energized by a group of people. In my twenties and thirties. That would most often be where I would feel the most alive.

But, now? I see the sense of being alone. Seeking solitude. Craving alone time. I am developing my introverted side. Being surrounded by introverts in my family, I appreciate another way of looking at life, and dealing with what life brings my way. Appreciating diversity.

So, I can well see how Fr. Nouwen lifts up that delicate, careful balance “between silence and words, withdrawal and involvement, distance and closeness, solitude and community.” Moreover, this balance “forms the basis of the Christian life and should therefore be the subjects of our most personal attention.” [1]

In my Advent journey, I am encouraged to balance both active moments (the more extroverted times) and moments of solitude (the introverted times). Lord, help me to examine, assess, and evaluate these things.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 6.

Seasons of My Soul

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, June 13, 2015

four seasons tree

Seasons of My Soul

I enjoy living in the Midwest for a number of reasons, not least of which is the turning of the seasons. But—I hadn’t considered that there were seasons for my soul, too. Ups and downs, verdant springtime, growing summer, hesitant autumn, and withdrawn winter.

Yes, I am very much aware of the concept of the dark night of the soul. Oh, yes. And, I have experienced it a number of times, for periods of time. Definitely a hesitant autumn, or even a withdrawn winter. I cried out to God (or, the Source, or Higher Power, or the Ineffable), and I got next to no answer. Yup. That was me. No answer, God!

By and large, the Handbook for the Soul is helpful to me. And, especially this chapter.

Linda Leonard had excellent suggestions for the ways of nurturing soul, of self-care for the soul. She had a difficult childhood, by her own report. She worked through the stuff, and I suspect she is a marvelous therapist. (Even though one of her specialties happens to be interpretation of dreams. I very rarely remember my dreams, so I would need to find another way of understanding myself, a different kind of interpretation.)

I believe in the changing of the seasons, and the calendar year. Extended into Christianity, I also appreciate the liturgical (or, church) year. Finally, I appreciate the diversity of expressions of soul, mind, spirituality, divinity. Higher Power, God, any other conception people come up with. I try to be supportive and encouraging, no matter what. Even if I’m going through a hesitant autumn or a withdrawn winter.

I will strive to take all suggestions into consideration, whenever I pray, meditate and reach out for some kind of caring, loving Presence. God willing, yes!


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Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

Day #9 – Melting Pot? Salad Bowl? Point of Prayer!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, February 27, 2015

children heart illustration

Day #9 – Melting Pot? Salad Bowl? Point of Prayer!

Multi-cultural America is sometimes called the melting pot. This imagery resonates with me especially well because my grandfather emigrated to this country in the early years of the twentieth century. He and his family arrived on a steamer, entering New York City through Ellis Island. (I remember him telling me how vividly he remembered seeing the Statue of Liberty from the deck of the steam ship.)

But, what about another image? What about a big salad bowl? How different flavors “swap around,” as Mark Twain might say. Especially in a large city like Chicago, such diversity becomes second-nature. Automatic.

I think of the hospital where I served as an on-call chaplain for seven years, on the north side of Chicago. That hospital was located in a ZIP code (60625) that was one of the most diverse postal codes in the country. And, that was according to the United States Census Bureau. Multi-cultural, yet also diverse in just about every other way that comes to mind. In terms of ethnic origin, languages spoken, faith traditions celebrated, as well as economic basis. And more. I never knew who would be in that next room I visited. It was an exciting place to work.

In terms of a diverse population, the Chicago suburb where I work is another miniature United Nations. The preschool housed at our church has children from a number of backgrounds and nationalities. And—I love it! As the email from #40acts mentioned today, “we all want a safe, clean and happy environment for our children and elders; decent, affordable homes and satisfying jobs; respect and freedom, peace and health, physical as well as spiritual.” Yes, these are wonderful goals, things to strive for and make a reality.

I try to be friendly to most everyone. I really do. Whether it’s a cashier at the grocery store, the man behind the counter at the gas station, or someone in line at the post office, I do try to be pleasant and courteous. I went out of my way to make conversation at lunch time. I ate at a restaurant near my home. It’s owned by a family of immigrants from Greece. I had a good sandwich with really excellent cole slaw on the side. I complimented the owner as I paid my bill, and told her how much I enjoyed it. I think she appreciated the compliment.

Such a simple thing. Being pleasant, kind, and complimentary. What a way for me to be generous! God willing, I’ll continue tomorrow. I hope so. I pray so.

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .