February 18, 2019

Authors to “forge” peace at Lancaster church

Written by  Andrew Mashas, Eastern Mennonite Missions, and Brook Musselman, Atlantic Coast Conference of Mennonite Church USA
Authors Shane Claiborne and Michael Martin will forge guns into garden tools as they release their new book “Beating Guns: Hope for people who are weary of violence” at Neffsville Mennonite Church, Lancaster, on March 9, at 6:30 p.m. Authors Shane Claiborne and Michael Martin will forge guns into garden tools as they release their new book “Beating Guns: Hope for people who are weary of violence” at Neffsville Mennonite Church, Lancaster, on March 9, at 6:30 p.m.

LANCASTER, Pa. — Authors Shane Claiborne and Michael Martin will forge guns into garden tools as they release their new book “Beating Guns: Hope for People Who Are Weary of Violence.” On the first day of their book release tour, March 9, at 6 p.m., Claiborne and Martin will be at Neffsville Mennonite Church in Lancaster.

The 90-minute event will feature music, art, and stories of people impacted by gun violence, culminating with an invitation for the audience to take the hammer and transform a gun into garden tools.

The book challenges readers with thought-provoking ideas, such as: “The call to turn swords into plows is as much about transforming our way of life as it is about transforming a gun into a garden tool.”

The imagery of transforming guns into garden tools is a contemporary adaptation of a biblical concept: “He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4, NIV).

Tickets are free but must be reserved on the tour’s website: beatingguns.com/tour. A free-will offering will be taken to cover the expenses of the event.

Claiborne is a bestselling author, renowned activist, sought-after speaker, and self-proclaimed “recovering sinner.” He writes and speaks around the world about peacemaking, social justice, and Jesus, and is the author or coauthor of numerous books, including “The Irresistible Revolution,” “Jesus for President,” and “Executing Grace.”

Martin is the founder and executive director of RAWtools Inc. and blogs at RAWtools.org. RAWtools turns guns into garden tools and resources communities with nonviolent confrontation skills in an effort to turn stories of violence into stories of creation.

This event is sponsored by Atlantic Coast Conference of Mennonite Church USA, Eastern Mennonite Missions, Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society, Lancaster Mennonite, Landis Communities, and Mennonite Central Committee East Coast. It is part of “Following Jesus, Living Out Peace” — a series of events promoting past and contemporary peacemaking as an aspect of living as disciples of Jesus. Other events in the series include:

— “Peaceable Kingdom: An Evening of Storytelling” at Akron (Pa.) Mennonite Church on Monday, April 15, 7-8:30 p.m. During this event, people will hear from storytellers whose identity as a disciple of Christ has shaped their response in times of conflict and crisis.

— “Yellow Bellies” is a production of Theatre of the Beat at Lancaster Mennonite’s Lancaster Campus Fine Arts Center on May 5, 6:30–8:30 p.m. “Yellow Bellies” is a historical drama that highlights the experiences and public response to Mennonite conscientious objectors during World War II. This episodic tale takes audiences across Canada, featuring verbatim interviews, fictionalized scenes, and live music from an often overlooked chapter in Canadian history. A talkback will include a local historian to draw parallels between the experiences of Canadian and U.S. conscientious objectors.   

— “Peace Witness, the Military, and Selective Service: Exploring the Anabaptist Peace Stance in the 21st Century” will be held at Forest Hills Mennonite Church, Leola, Pa., on June 9, 6:30–8 p.m. This event will equip youth, parents, youth leaders, and educators with information on the current realities of U.S. military enlistment practices and the selective service system, while helping the community articulate what it means to follow Jesus’ lead as a Peace Church in today’s world.