In the month of September, PiE has been occupying a temporary new home. We’ve been occupying a desk in the MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement (CPA), in their Epp Incubator on the 4th floor at Conrad Grebel University College (what a mouthful!). According to its website, the CPA “is a unique space and working community on the University of Waterloo campus. The Centre stands as a bridge between campus and community, academics and practice, and faith and justice.” The CPA stands as an in-between presence in Waterloo Region.
The Epp Incubator is a space within the Centre for Peace Advancement for young non-profits to have a desk and share in the community, innovation, and mentorship that the CPA offers. This past Tuesday the Epp Incubator celebrated its public launch, and I got to share for a couple of minutes to the 100+ people attending about who and what PiE is.
This may all seem a bit strange. Jessica & I are pastors! What are we doing in a peace incubator? What does this have to do with individuals and churches in exile? These are all good questions, and in PiE’s speech at the launch I articulated a response to these questions:
…How do we fit into this incubator? What does this all have to do with peace? Well, quite a bit actually. For example, Jessica & I have noted significant deterioration in intergenerational connections in our church communities, reflecting a generational disconnect in society at large. We wish to breathe peace into this disconnect. Just this past weekend we had our launch party, with a diverse group, young and old celebrating with us and interacting with each other. What a blessing when people of all ages can come together joyfully! We are bridge-builders not just between ages, but also between the spiritual and religious, between different theological traditions, and between the individual and the church.
Jessica & I both have masters-level theological education as well as doing our undergraduates here in Peace and Conflict Studies. PiE fits very well into both disciplines…and we’re excited about our work as bridge-builders between church and the broader community. We invite you to talk to us after, we would love to tell you more!
As much as we are pastors, we are also bridge-builders. If there are actions and conversations happening within Waterloo Region about peace, then we can be a pastoral voice in those activities. It fits with who we are as pastors outside of church walls.
After the introduction to PiE, both Jessica & I had numerous people come up to us, intrigued by the idea of PiE. Most of these people had no church connection or affiliation, and yet there was something that drew them to know more.
It’s that something that drew Jessica & I into this work in the first place. It’s a something we’re still working on articulating, and yet it’s tangible enough that when we share about PiE, people can grasp that something for themselves. I would describe it as a yearning that religion, spirituality, that God, could be so much more than the boxes we use to constrict them. It’s a yearning that God is integrated with all aspects of life – not just within the confines of religion or individual preference!
In order to work towards that integration, we need to put ourselves into places and situations that will bend our ideas of pastoral ministry. We need to put ourselves into situations where pastors often have been absent; whether that is on the streets in our community or in an incubator with others who are trying to make their community and world a better place.
We are experimenting in transformation – and already we’ve been led into new and exciting places. What will that something reveal next around the corner?