Friday, April 17, 2009
Panel on Youth and Violence
Yesterday before the meeting of Pittsburgh Presbytery, the Peacemaking Ministry Team sponsored a panel discussion on Youth and Violence. Panelists were ministers and elders from five diverse congregations of the presbytery: Bethesda United Presbyterian Church (in Pittsburgh), East Liberty Presbyterian Church, Grace Memorial Presbyterian Church, Southminster Presbyterian Church, and Verona United Presbyterian Church.
The Rev. Dr. Ron Peters of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary moderated the panel discussion, inviting the panelists to respond to various questions. How have youth in your church and community been affected by violence? How has your church responded to violence among youth? How is your church uniquely gifted to help? Where is God leading your congregation in regard to the problem of violence among our youth?
One of the common themes that emerged is that there will be "push-back" from within the congregation, i.e. that when we are dealing with genuine spiritual problems we should not be surprised that resistance conducting such a ministry will appear even from within the congregation.
The Peacemaking Ministry Team has prepared resources for churches who want to deal with the problem of youth and violence. Download links for three published resources are going to be made available to all who were in attendance at the panel discussion.
The walls in the lecture hall where the panel discussion was held were decorated with various mandalas made by young people at the Shuman Juvenile Detention Center.