January 2007

Dear Friends: Welcome to a new calendar year in service to Christ and Christ's Church! I pray that even this 'ordinary time' will be a time of faithfulness in our various ministries and one in which significant strides are made towards enacting God's will for just and sustainable peace in our troubled world.

We have covenented with God and one another to sustain this fellowship through our prayers, financial stewardship, and common friendship in Christ. I hope that this brief monthly newsletter helps us to be mindful of God, of one another, and of our commitment to the EP.

John McFadden, editor

Brimlow on Hitler
Robert Brimlow’s new book, What About Hitler? Wrestling with Jesus’ Call to Nonviolence in an Evil World (Brazos Press), is a much needed treatment of one of the challenges most often put to defenders of pacifism, Christian or otherwise. Through critical engagements with just-warriors old and new, probing analysis of the character and motivations behind recent terrorist activity, a creative display of Hitler’s humanity, and biblical interrogations of Bonhoeffer, Orwell and Ghandi on “successful” resistance to violence, Brimlow provides timely resources for all seeking to live peaceably in a violent world. Perhaps most importantly, What About Hitler?’s critical and constructive proposals are set within the context of biblical meditations and personal narratives that make this book, and the “answer” it provides, an atypical display of rigorously prayerful and thus vibrant theology.

Stanley Hauerwas has said Brimlow answers the Hitler question in the only possible honest way, and for those of us committed to Christian nonviolence in this dark time, Brimlow has indeed helped us see a way forward. But challenges, both intellectual and practical, of course remain. Discussion about the adequacy of Brimlow’s treatment of the Hitler question, and his encouragement for Christians to “grow stronger in our faith” and become peacemakers in all aspects of all our lives, is now underway. Join in the conversation at the book discussion forum of EP’s website.

Scott Prather, Aberdeen, U.K.
(The idea for this book originated with extensive email conversations among early EP endorsers about this question which pacifists are always asked.)

Meet the EP
Clark and Miriam Hock have been in pastoral work for nearly 50 years. Presently Clark is serving a United Church of Christ congregation in Mercersburg (Franklin County) Pennsylvania. They have been working within the UCC since 1965. Before beginning pastoral work in Mercersburg, they spent twenty years in Annapolis, Maryland and fourteen years in Olivet, Michigan.

Clark and Miriam learned about EP through the writings of Stanley Hauerwas, then looked up the EP website. Both Miriam and Clark grew up in congregations of the Brethren in Christ and did pastoral work with that denomination for about ten years. Clark received his seminary education at Lancaster Theological Seminary. Miriam has been a mother, teacher, nurse and nurse practitioner. They are the parents of four children and grandparents to eight. Last March, Clark made a presentation to the local group of United Church of Christ clergy entitled, “Becoming Church in a Perverted Generation: A Visit to the Ekklesia Project.” The presentation focused on Hauerwas’ call to the ‘called out people’, the 1999 Ekklesia Declaration, churchly practices and Christian formation, and “Oh, What Friends We Have in Jesus.”

Gathering News
Mark your calendars now for this year’s Summer Gathering, July 16-18 in Chicago. The focus of our gathering this summer will be congregational formation, and more specifically, what it means for congregations to think of themselves as communities of formation and some of the challenges of living that out day to day. One way we will address these matters is by being in conversation with many of those who are currently part of EP’s Congregational Formation Initiative, discerning together what wisdom they have to offer us about these important matters.

The planning team for this year’s gathering is: Sharon Huey, Jim McCoy, Sally Johnson, David Butzu, Brent Laytham, and Phil Kenneson

Please keep these folks in your prayers, and please plan on being a part of this summer’s gathering. You’ll be hearing plenty about the gathering in the coming months in this newsletter, and the planning team will also be soliciting your input. Stay tuned!

EP Finances
Where does the money go?? After crunching the final numbers, we hope to make available to EP endorsers a full financial report for the 2006 fiscal year.

In the meantime, we would like to draw your attention to a new page on our website. Listed in the main menu, you'll see a link labeled "Participate." Click and it will take you to a page describing numerous ways to participate in the work of The Ekklesia Project. Thank you for your continued involvement and support.

Upload Your Picture!
At the end of December, the EP website was breached by an unauthorized third party (i.e., hacked). Thanks to the quick work of our webmaster, Kevin Poorman, no major damage was done. But unfortunately, we lost all the pictures endorsers had uploaded into their profiles.

We hope those of you who had previously posted your pictures will upload them again -- and we hope those of you who never did, to take this opportunity to do so!

Uploading your picture is easy:

  1. On the website, click on "User Details" in the main menu (visible after you have logged on).
  2. Click "Edit" at the top of the page.
  3. Click "Update Your Image."
  4. "Browse" to the place on your computer where you have your favorite picture of yourself.
  5. Click on it.
  6. Click "Upload."

That should do it! We look forward to "seeing" you on the website.

As always, we welcome your feedback and, more importantly, your participation. If you have ideas, time, or a willingness to serve, email us.