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Spiritual Perspectives and Resources for Christians
June 13-16, 2002

Gilmary Conference Center (near Pittsburgh Airport)

“But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:27-31

The Rev. Susan Eastman
Our speaker for this year's conference was The Rev. Susan Eastman. Susan is currently working on a doctorate at Duke Divinity School. She is married to Ed Eastman and they have two children, Danny and Angela. Susan and her family attended All Saints' Church, Aliquippa, with the Community and she served as priest-in-charge in 1995.

What did Jesus’ audience think of these words? Perhaps they found them as scary and impractical as we do today. Surely these words of Jesus shouldn’t be taken literally because anyone who tried would be pulverized. But is it right to conclude that Jesus meant anything other than the stark realities of these sayings?

In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, how we relate to our enemies is a hot topic. Our natural response is to strike back when we are attacked. Jesus knew that, and he saw the result of taking an eye for an eye: a cycle of violence and enmity between people and nations. Gandhi stated the obvious when he said that practicing eye for eye and tooth for tooth leads to a world of blind and toothless people.

Paul took Jesus’ love of his enemies seriously when he said: “While we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son." Rom. 5:10. This reconciling love of God is the basis for the command,
"Do not repay evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.' No, 'if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.' Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." Rom. 12:17-21

Following Jesus' command to love our enemies will lead us into deeper knowledge of our own need of forgiveness, and also God's power and love. The command strikes right at our fears -- of being out of control, of suffering, of death.

During WW II, J.R.R. Tolkein wrote to his son that, “Wars are always lost, and The War goes on; and it is no good growing faint!” Our Christian assurance is that ‘The War’ against the powers of evil and death has been won by Jesus’ sacrificial love for his enemies. Join us for mutual discussion, prayer and encouragement as we explore together how we, as followers of Jesus, may be enabled to love our enemies.

Teaching session at Gilmary

Teaching session at Gilmary.

The conference will be held at the Gilmary Diocesan Conference Center. Worship will be held in the chapel; sessions and sleeping accommodations will be in the adjacent Center. Next to the center and chapel is a private courtyard with a fountain and benches for private prayer, conversation, or relaxation. Meals will be cafeteria style. Gilmary is situated on eleven acres of rolling hillside near the Pittsburgh International Airport in Coraopolis, PA, (across from Charlie Brown's Park 'n' Ride) 15 minutes from the Community’s residence in Aliquippa.

Handicapped-accessible accommodations are available.

The program runs Thursday dinner through Sunday lunch. In addition to teaching sessions there will be worship led by the Community of Celebration. This includes Morning and Evening worship, a Taizé style service, Compline and concludes with a Eucharist on Sunday morning. In the afternoons there is free time for various creative workshops, use of the indoor heated swimming pool, jigsaw puzzles, visiting, or resting.

Gilmary Chapel

Worship in the Gilmary Chapel.

Learn about our latest annual conference.

For more information about our Conferences, e-mail us, write to us, or call us: Celebration, P.O. Box 309 Aliquippa, PA 15001, 724-375-1510.

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