The Power of Forgiveness: Lessons from Nickel Mines
Donald B. Kraybill
In the opening address, Kraybill will explore the unique aspects of the Nickel Mines forgiveness story and, using the lessons of the story, probe distinctions between grace, forgiveness, pardon, justice, and reconciliation.
L. Gregory Jones
Christians are called to embody habits of forgiveness, learned and lived in and through faithful communities. This commitment should shape the contexts in which we live and frame how we deal with the hard questions that arise in the wake of horrifying violence. As the Nickel Mines tragedy exemplifies, none of us can avoid wrestling with such daunting challenges as healing the wounds of memory, dealing with the relationship between repentance and forgiveness, and finding a hopeful future not bound by the destructiveness of the past. Jones will explain and illustrate how a rich embodiment and articulation of forgiveness can help us wrestle with such hard questions in life-giving ways.
In most faith traditions, forgiveness and reconciliation are a unity: the first naturally leads to the second. In the work of family therapist Terry Hargrave, they are separate decisions with very different motives. Forgiveness is understood as a choice people make for themselves; reconciliation is a choice people make for a relationship. Stalfa will show how each position has its own integrity and power to heal.
Sexual and Domestic Violence as Abuse of Power: A Pastoral Response to Forgiveness
The abuse of power in sexual violence requires a pastoral response that does not frame forgiveness as an alternative to justice. Quick forgiveness can harm both victim and abuser because abuse has long-term spiritual, emotional, and physical impacts. Participants will reflect on stories that illustrate the deep wounds of abuse, and they'll explore how a mandate to forgive can be a barrier to healing.
Donald B. Kraybill, Steven M. Nolt, David Weaver-Zercher
The authors of Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy will describe the ethical complications and sensitive issues with which they struggled in writing the story of the Nickel Mines tragedy. They will also discuss the subsequent dilemmas they faced regarding the film Amish Grace.
Receiving the gift of forgiveness from those we have harmed is an important part of healing. Based on her personal experience with the Nickel Mines story, Roberts will discuss how being forgiven can offer spiritual power for reconciling and building vibrant new relationships with those who've been harmed.
In July 2010, in Stuttgart, Germany, the Lutheran World Federation requested forgiveness from the Anabaptists for the persecutions and condemnations—and the forgetting—that have been part of the Lutheran tradition since the sixteenth century. Lutheran and Mennonite leaders shared in a deeply moving service of reconciliation. Erling, who participated in the service, will summarize this historic event and lead a discussion about how the healing of memories through acts of repentance can foster new relationships for churches and for people.
What I've Learned about Forgiveness
Steven M. Nolt
The Nickel Mines story prompted many questions about forgiveness and reconciliation for both Steve Nolt and Terri Roberts. They will each discuss what they have learned about forgiveness in the five years since the tragedy.
The Amish response to the Nickel Mines tragedy captured the imagination of many people around the world. Mennonite Central Committee served as a bridge between the Amish and other cultures, religions, and nations. Sensenig will recount stories of heartwarming exchanges between international guests and members of the Amish community.