All Saints Church: Coming Home to God – September 15

first_imgFaith & Religion News All Saints Church: Coming Home to God – September 15 By JANINE SCHENONE, SENIOR ASSOCIATE for CONGREGATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND WELCOME, ALL SAINTS CHURCH Published on Monday, August 26, 2013 | 12:27 pm faithfernandez More » ShareTweetShare on Google+Pin on PinterestSend with WhatsApp,Virtual Schools PasadenaHomes Solve Community/Gov/Pub SafetyCitizen Service CenterPASADENA EVENTS & ACTIVITIES CALENDARClick here for Movie Showtimes Subscribe EVENTS & ENTERTAINMENT | FOOD & DRINK | THE ARTS | REAL ESTATE | HOME & GARDEN | WELLNESS | SOCIAL SCENE | GETAWAYS | PARENTS & KIDS Pasadena’s ‘626 Day’ Aims to Celebrate City, Boost Local Economy Top of the News Pasadena Will Allow Vaccinated People to Go Without Masks in Most Settings Starting on Tuesday 4 recommended0 commentsShareShareTweetSharePin it More Cool Stuff HerbeautyHow To Lose Weight & Burn Fat While You SleepHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyAncient Beauty Remedies From India To Swear By For Healthy SkinHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyVictoria’s Secret Model’s Tips For Looking Ultra SexyHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyThis Trend Looks Kind Of Cool!HerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyNutritional Strategies To Ease AnxietyHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeauty10 Brutally Honest Reasons Why You’re Still SingleHerbeautyHerbeauty Get our daily Pasadena newspaper in your email box. Free.Get all the latest Pasadena news, more than 10 fresh stories daily, 7 days a week at 7 a.m.center_img Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Community News First Heatwave Expected Next Week Make a comment Business News Community News Name (required)  Mail (required) (not be published)  Website  On my first week at All Saints, my fellow staff members said, “Welcome! By the way, you’re in charge of Homecoming!” I remember thinking, “What does Homecoming have to do with church?”A lot, it turns out. But first, let me explain my first associations with Homecoming. To many Americans, homecoming refers to that bizarre ritual in the fall in which high school students elect a “court” of princes, princesses, king and queen to wear fancy clothes and parade around the football field and at a Homecoming dance. People who have graduated are encouraged to “come home” for this paean to pseudo-royalty. Frankly, I didn’t see the point to all the hoopla.So what does Homecoming have to do with church? At All Saints, it marks the official start of our programmatic year: a new year of formation programs for children, youths, and adults; new Rector’s Forums; a new series of sermons and social concerns to address. We are also welcoming back all who have been away for the summer and inviting everyone to jump in to new formation and ministry opportunities.If we also think of Homecoming more broadly—as returning to one’s home—we discover the theological and spiritual depth that inspired St. Augustine to write, “Our heart is restless until it rests in You.” In his theology, our home is in God—not only in an afterlife, but also in our present existence. In his magnum opus, City of God, he writes a tale of two cities: the City of God and the City of the world.The church’s goal, he writes, is to transform the city of the world into the City of God. Although people often have the idea that ancient theology described a sharp divide between earth and heaven, or the created world and its Creator, this fifth-century theologian espoused the same beliefs that liberation theologians of the twentieth century described: it’s our job to bring heaven home. Maybe they took their hint from the Gospel of Luke: “The kingdom of heaven is within you,” Jesus says (Lk 17:20-21).Augustine is also famous for describing two types of homecoming. There is the inward journey of the mind and spirit as we find the kingdom of heaven—our spiritual home—within us. There is also the outward journey: moving out of ourselves, our egos, and our concerns, and into the greater world of creation, the home God has created for us. We have chosen the theme “The Blue Green Hills of Earth” this year to highlight “this fragile earth, our island home” (Book of Common Prayer, 370). Increasingly, Christian theologians and other spiritual writers have urged us to embrace the natural world as our home and as God’s home—or, as theologian Sally McFague writes, “the body of God.” This created world is not to be used or despised, but to be carefully preserved as the home God has given us and as a sacramental manifestation of God’s grace.This year, on Sunday, Sept. 15, we invite you to partake of this spiritual journey home both within yourselves and outside yourselves. And we also hope you discover that in some ways, you are already home.Welcome home. We’re so glad you’re here.JANINE SCHENONEFor more information about the All Saints Church Homecoming 2013 contact Norma Sigmund, (626) 583-2734 or email [email protected] The event will be held on Sunday, September 15, 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Quad Lawn/Cloister, Sweetland Hall.For more information, visit Home of the Week: Unique Pasadena Home Located on Madeline Drive, Pasadenalast_img read more

Children Make Up Nearly Half of Colombia’s Guerrillas, Says New Study

first_img Springer: Kids are often tricked into joining FARC UN urges Colombia to do more to fight child warrior phenomenon Diego Molano, director of the Colombian government’s Family Welfare Institute which is in charge of protecting children, questioned the report’s finding that the country currently has 18,000 child warriors. But he also admitted that the government lacks solid figures of its own. “What’s important is that no child should participate in the armed conflict,” Molano told reporters. However, Colombia’s illegal armed groups have always included many children. Some were born to female guerrilla and paramilitary fighters. Others followed the footsteps of their warrior fathers, uncles or older siblings. But the pace of forced recruitment of minors has jumped as seasoned fighters and drug gang leaders are gunned down. Rebel commanders have increasingly turned to teenagers and even pre-teens to fill out their ranks while the bandas criminales have found many advantages in deploying kids rather than adults. They’ve also found a large pool of desperate children to target. Though national statistics show a decrease in Colombia’s poverty rate, many rural areas remain backwards and isolated, and beyond the control of the government security forces. Despite the tough conditions, the guerrilla groups and drug gangs sometimes provide rudderless youths a sense of power and — however skewed — direction. BOGOTA — Although the intensity of Colombia’s long-running civil conflict has diminished over the past decade, a new study outlines one particularly devastating trend: Marxist guerrillas and drug trafficking gangs are increasingly recruiting children by force. The study estimates that more than 40 percent of the country’s guerrillas are children. In 2001, Colombian officials put that figure at about 30 percent. In addition, the report said more than half of the members in the so-called bandas criminales — drug trafficking groups made up largely of former right-wing paramilitary fighters who demobilized in the 2000s — are minors. That compares to a 40 percent child warrior rate for the now-defunct paramilitaries, the report said. Released last week, the 120-page study was authored by Natalia Springer, a Colombian expert on international law and human rights. In the absence of clear data about the recruitment of minors, she and about 80 fellow investigators spent four years interviewing nearly 500 demobilized child warriors. Besides focusing on gun-toting kids, the report also estimated that at least 100,000 children labor in drug production and other facets of Colombia’s illegal economy. “This is a humanitarian emergency,” Springer said in a telephone interview with Diálogo. “The level of forced recruitment of children is extremely high.” “The FARC is using minors to make and plant land mines, purchase medicine and carry out intelligence missions,” the UN report said. It added that sexual abuse is rampant and that girls — who make up 43 percent of child recruits — are often forced to have abortions after they become pregnant. Springer suggested that Colombians may be overlooking the problem of child warriors, in part, because the rebels have been weakened by a military offensive while the bandas criminales are less powerful and violent than the Medellín and Cali cartels that dominated the illegal narcotics trade in the 1980s and ‘90s. “There may be the impression that the war is over but I don’t believe that,” Springer said. In fact, the country’s two main guerrilla organizations – FARC and the National Liberation Army, or ELN — are nowhere near defeated, and have stepped up their attacks over the past three years. Meanwhile, the bandas criminales continue to traffic huge shipments of cocaine. Children, Springer says, are “a huge part of this dynamic.” Even so, very few children these days sign up on their own free will. In several southern departments, Springer said, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) now forces each family to provide the rebel organization with at least one son or daughter. The FARC’s minimum age used to be 14 or 15 but now Springer said those guidelines have gone out the window and that the average age of child recruits is 12. In one of the most brazen recent cases, FARC rebels burst into a country school in southern Putumayo department in May and forcibly marched 13 students into the jungle. They were between the ages of 10 and 15. “They tricked them by promising the students a better life and then took them away,” Colombian politician Gloria Inés Flórez said of the mass kidnapping. In her report, Springer quoted one former child guerrilla, who went by the name of Juan, as saying he joined the FARC at the age of 10. “The guerrillas asked us which side we were on,” Juan said. “I didn’t want to join them but, come on, you can’t say ‘no’ to these people.” center_img Government disputes study’s conclusions Children like Juan provide illegal armed groups with several advantages. They are easily brainwashed and adapt quickly to the physical demands of fighting in the mountains and jungles. They are not paid salaries and have no way of protesting. They’re often the sons and daughters of impoverished migrant workers who may not be noticed when they go missing, Springer said. Drug gangs, in turn, often rely on youngsters because — when caught — they go through the more lenient juvenile court system, meaning authorities face far more restrictions when it comes to questioning children. In addition, Springer said, it’s harder for those authorities to gain access and information from child gang members because government security forces are prohibited from using minors to infiltrate criminal organizations. Springer’s investigation comes on the heels of a United Nations report released in May that urges the Colombian government to do more to separate children from the country’s illegal armed groups. The UN report said the guerrillas usually recruit children in rural areas while the bandas criminales focus on urban areas. It said that children as young as 8 have been forced to join their ranks, and that several children in FARC uniforms were among those killed in recent military bombardments of rebel camps. Children are ‘huge part’ of cocaine trafficking network By Dialogo August 27, 2012last_img read more