Happy Easter! One week ago today Anthony and I celebrated two years since we met at the Palm Sunday Peace Parade. This year I had the joy of organizing two miniature donkeys for the parade. The kids had a blast riding them. This week we have been bathed in meaningful Easter week experiences: a foot washing and “last supper,” a good Friday and a sunrise services with African American churches. Anthony was asked to pray for the cup as we shared communion. I’m pleased he, too, is being recognized as a spiritual leader in the [Evangelical community here in] Pasadena.
The theme of this year’s Peace Parade was “Beating Swords into plowshares” (Isa 2:4) and we are planning to do just that. I have become the co-chair of the Pasadena Area Gun Buyback—where those who wish will exchange their guns for a gift card—paid for by the churches of Pasadena. A “Peace-Source” fair will take place around the corner as the buyback taking place, which will showcase how churches and nonprofits are involved with intervention, prevention and alternatives to violence. This will all happen May 11—what a Mothers’ day gift! We are working with a renown sculptor who will melt the guns into an art object to demonstrate the commitment and unity of the congregations to end gun violence.
Since Christmas Pasadena has had four gun deaths and many shootings—even a four-year-old was shot! We are asking congregations to give $50 for a non-working gun, $100 for a pistol or $200 for an assault weapon. Today three people gave me $100 checks. Just when I’m tempted to panic, God encourages me and our amazing team. So please pray. Today I read how one anonymous donor gave $100,000 for the Phoenix Buyback this week—yet by asking each church to participate our idea is to see a the culture of violence more broadly addressed. But right now in the thick of all this planning, I would not be opposed to such a gift!
In addition to helping with the gun buyback, Anthony has just finished another book and is helping me to promote mine. Skidrow Radio, a station focusing on homeless people and their issues, interviewed us about my book last Monday (http://www.skidrowstudios.com/the-qumran-report/2013-03-26/19499/the-qumran-report-housing-and-the-faith-based-community )
In the past months I’ve have had several speaking engagements and book signings—each selling out! My goal this year is to focus on promoting this revised version of Making Housing Happen, but God seems to have had some additional unexpected plans with this the Gun Buyback as well as a benefit concert I’m planning with another awesome team—Barry McGuire will be playing with John York at 3:30pm on June 9th at the First Pasadena Nazarene Church. Barry will share his journey to Jesus along with his “Tripping the Sixties” concert, which is a blast! The funds will support Family Promise of San Gabriel Valley—where homeless families are hosted by the congregations, gain employment and long term housing. Mark June 9th on your calendar. If you are in the Southern CA area, I’d love to get to see you.
God is resurrecting his people to action, to transform our community. I thank God for you and your partnership with me to make this happen. Love you, Jill