Akron, Pennsylvania, USA – Several North American agencies have collaborated to produce a new Sunday school curriculum focused on building bridges between peace churches and military veterans.
“Returning Veterans, Returning Hope: Seeking Peace Together” was created by Mennonite Central Committee, the Peace and Justice Support Network of Mennonite Church USA (MCUSA) and Mennonite Mission Network (MMN). MCUSA is a Mennonite World Conference member church, while MCC and MMN are linked to MWC through its Mission Commission – MCC through the Commission’s Global Anabaptist Service Network and MNN through the Global Mission Fellowship.
Released in late 2014 on a U.S. holiday that honors military veterans, the free six-week course focuses on biblical reflections and insights about trauma with significant input from a third source.
Evan Knappenberger, an Iraq War veteran studying at Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA) spent part of 2014 researching and writing as part of a nontraditional Ministry Inquiry Program placement.
“I did a lot of coordinating with veterans in the Mennonite world,” he said. “In almost every little Mennonite community there is one or two, if not more. There are a lot more in the Brethren in Christ church in Pennsylvania.”
Curriculum creators see the materials as a relatively new field for North American Mennonites – addressing how Christian pacifists can embrace returning warriors.
“There are a lot of potentially good things that veterans can offer churches,” said Knappenberger. “There are good qualities of soldiers and veterans. Gandhi was a veteran; Tolstoy was a veteran. The people who teach us nonviolence, many of them wore a uniform.”
Click here to see the free Sunday school curriculum “Returning Veterans. Returning hope.”
– Adapted from a Mennonite World Review news release by Tim Huber
|Jason Boone||Evan Knappenberger||Titus Peachey|