Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Becky Louter

March 16, 1970 - September 16, 2016
It is with deep sadness that the diaconal community has learned of the passing of Becky Louter on September 16th, 2016, after a courageous battle with breast cancer for several years.

Like her mother, Becky was a Deaconess in the United Methodist Church. Consecrated as a Deaconess in 2001, she served as Executive Secretary of the Deaconess Home Missioner Order of the United Methodist Church, which oversees the lay order of the church dedicated to workers in vocations that alleviate suffering.

The United Methodist Women's website reports, 'Ms Louter was a tireless advocate for the lay office, and the community grew. During her tenure, laymen were added as home missioners by the 2004 General Conference, and the 2016 General Conference recognised the deaconess/home missioner community as a lay order of the church'.

Harriet Jane Olson, chief executive officer of the United Methodist Women says, 'I am profoundly grateful for Becky's life, for her commitment to following Jesus and for her leadership. She was a model of committed lay leadership focussed on love, justice and service'.

Becky's mission was to help share God's love through service and social justice. In a 2006 interview she said, 'I had always felt a sense of calling. I thought I was looking for a job but I discovered I was called to be in ministry. As a deaconess, I may have 30 jobs in my life, but one calling, one relationship...God does the calling'.

Becky is survived by her husband, Michael, and their four precious children, John, Andrew, Hanna and Elizabeth. Our thoughts and prayers are with Becky's family.

Becky's gentle and deeply rooted faith and confidence in Jesus, her strength, courage and love, and her tireless advocacy for diaconal ministry will continue to inspire those who knew and loved her, and those whose lives were touched by her presence.While there is deep sorrow at Becky's passing, we can all affirm together: well done, good and faithful servant.

And we can have confidence Becky is indeed held in the embrace of God, as she has given testimony to all her life.

(A GoFundMe appeal has been set up for Becky's family and you may consider making a donation). 

Monday, September 19, 2016

DOVE: Diakonia Overcoming Violence Experience

Please remember the delegates as they meet for the 2016 gathering of DOVE: Diakonia Overcoming Violence Experience, September 19-23, 2016 at Crieff Hills Conference Center, Punslinch (near Toronto), Ontario, Canada. 

This gathering builds an international team that will participate in a multicultural, hands-on, action-reflection experience related to overcoming violence in the world 

Participants promise to:
  • find ways to initiate action/reflection experiences in their own countries
  • write reflections to share with the group, their own community, and DOTAC (Diakonia
    of the Americas and Caribbean)
  • seek ways to provide leadership and develop networks to assist others in overcoming violence.

    Learning about... 
  • Overcoming Violence through Empowerment & Being a Strong Ally
  • Restorative Justice Approaches
  • Toxic & Healthy Masculinities
  • Advocating For & Empowering Sex Trade Workers
  • Residential Schools and Relationships with First Nations People

    DOTAC attempts to select three people from each region (Brazil, Caribbean, United States, and Canada) to attend. 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

A reflection on 9/11 (15th anniversary)

The sculpture consists of an iron beam pulled from the rubble of the World Trade Center held up by two stainless steel hands. The hands holding it up are constructed from 2,976 individually crafted stainless steel doves – each representing a victim of the attacks.

Fifteen years after 9/11
what is worth remembering?

How fragile we are.
How deeply we need each other.
How little our differences matter.
That in our vulnerability
we are most human.
That we can always respond to violence
with violence or with peace.
That violence begets violence.
That in danger, chaos and trauma
we can choose to come together.
That you always have a choice
to contribute to the world's hurt
or its healing.
That we are one.
That entering into the world's suffering
is divine.
That the world is not ending yet.
How beautiful it is
when we care for each other.
Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light