In the Pentecostal church Paul (Aexander) grew up in there were testimony services almost every week. On Sunday nights they’d share good news about what God had been doing in their lives—and they called them praise reports. This little letter is a praise report, and we hope you interject with a “hallelujah” or “praise the Lord” every once in awhile as you read it.
First, our Oriented to Love dialogue around the topic of sexual diversity in the church now has 48 alumni from around the country, and the testimonies from these reconciling experiences are wonderfully inspiring. The Spirit is truly at work in this ministry as Christians come together to humbly listen to and learn from one another. Even though we already have more retreats calendared and are building a leadership training program, participants are asking us to expand the program to include specialized dialogues for teens, pastors, and denominational leaders. You know it’s a great thing when the people who experience it want you to include more and more people! As one Oriented to Love participant said: “It’s the first time I’ve seen something I thought could make a difference. It is effective in starting the conversation and changing the paradigm from fear toward love.” (Feel free to chime in with one of those “hallelujahs” here.)
Second, many of the Israeli, Palestinian, and American leaders who participated in the Impact Holy Land conference that we hosted are working with us in ongoing collaborations and peacemaking/convening in both private and public settings. The network of Christians who want to love and support both Israelis and Palestinians is growing, and for this we rejoice! Please read this testimony from one of the participants who “learned about God’s deep love for all people, the power of forgiveness, the power of God using ordinary people to do small things with great love, and the imperative call to express our faith not merely in belief but through concrete, tangible, loving action.”
Third, we are partnering with the Family Strengthening Network to create a holistic ministry-focused Certification Program for Family Advocates. This will allow us to increase the number of Family Advocates who can coach families struggling with a complexity of issues that often includes employment, housing, child care, financial management, counseling, and other important concerns. Please watch this video and praise the Lord for the families who have already been helped— and the many more who will be!
Finally, along with praise reports there are also prayer requests, prayers, and receiving of an offering. So we invite you to rejoice with us, to pray for us, and to support this work as generously as you can so that our impact for the kingdom of God can be all God wants it to be.
With much love and gratitude,
Paul Alexander, PhD & Al Tizon, PhD
Co-Directors, Sider Center for Ministry and Public Policy
Co-Presidents, Evangelicals for Social Action
Palmer Seminary of Eastern University