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The second candle on the Advent wreath we light this week is the candle of peace. 

One of the most hopeful peace endeavors I’m involved with these days is called the Columbus Safety Collective.  This group of folks is committed to the creation of a non-police crisis response unit in Columbus.  It calls for nothing less than reimagining public safety, but at its core is a fairly simple idea.

As calls come into the 911 call center they get coded as to the nature of the crisis. For example: Disturbance/Mental, Domestic Dispute, Check on Well-Being, Intoxicated Person, etc. ...

I have long enjoyed running as one of the ways I stay physically active, but for the last few years my average miles per run has hovered much lower than it once did.  Only recently have I been able to overcome some of the mental and physical blocks that kept me from longer distances.  In the last couple months I have been slowly and carefully adding distance and enjoying this regained sense of freedom.  But of course, my eager self managed to overdo it last week, and I found that I was barely able to walk the day after Thanksgiving. 

Not wanting to lose the momentum I had been...

The season of Advent begins this coming Sunday.  Our theme for this year is Essentials: Hope, Peace, Joy, Love, Immanuel, Epiphany.  The first four on that list are the traditional themes of the four Sundays of Advent.  We and other Mennonite churches often add the Sunday after Christmas (Immanuel) and Epiphany Sunday to make a six-week series that brings us into the new calendar year. 

This year we’re approaching these themes through the lens of Essentials. 

At the beginning of the pandemic we were introduced to a new phrase that soon became part of our...

Last week I came across two articles on mental health that caught my attention.

One was from Axios Columbus which reported the most recent numbers from the nonprofit Mental Health America: Nearly 25% of adults in Ohio experience mental health issues.  The numbers are just coming out for 2019 so this is pre-pandemic.  The article notes, but does not give hypotheses toward why, Ohio had one of the largest negative changes from previous years.  In addition, 63.3% of Ohio youth with...

Recently I learned that someone I know co-authored a book called, Real Connections: Ministries to Strengthen Church and Community Relationships (written by Joy Skjegstad and Heidi Unruh).  I decided I needed to pick up a copy not only because I like supporting the creative work of people I know, but also because the topic felt like such a timely one. 

The later chapters of the book contain many great practical ideas and tips for...

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