“I so enjoyed brainstorming, imagining, and praying alongside Randy in the weeks and months leading up to the 2022 TrueCity Prayer Room. As a ministry placement student, I always appreciated the hospitality GOHOP staff members would extend in inviting me into their areas of focus, and Randy did (and does!) this so well. I find his creativity in prayer to be contagious, and I saw this on full display during both the planning meetings and the eventual launch of the TrueCity Prayer Room. I specifically remember Randy encouraging me to run with an idea I had for one of the prayer stations, and this was the invitation I needed to realize I could contribute meaningfully to a ministry I didn’t think I was “creative enough” for. I appreciate that Randy recognized, affirmed, and encouraged the stewarding of what I could bring to this prayer room.”
“Randy has been very instrumental in the planning and execution of the last two TrueCity 24/7 Prayer rooms. His creativity and thoughtfulness have enabled us to mobilize prayer when we couldn’t meet together in person (employing online resources and creating a visual prayer-walking guide) in 2021. In 2022, these same gifts were employed to help us come back and pray in a physical prayer room at Wentworth Baptist Church. The prayer room bore his creative stamp (with a prayer labyrinth, 12 stations of the cross) and was the fruit of his collaborative organization. Among other things, the prayer room thoughtfully included a prayer exhibit that resembled a nursing station (created by GOHOP staff, Margie Stuart) and enabled pray-ers to pray for health care workers and for health concerns related to the pandemic.”
About 9 years ago I became a Mennonite and entered into the peace church tradition. For many Mennonites the Sunday before Remembrance Day is Peace Sunday. Buttons are handed out with the slogan “to remember is to work for peace.” Some people wear them as an addition to their poppy, others as an alternative. The idea is to widen the discussion around peacemaking and who needs to be included in our remembrance. In addition to the soldiers sacrifice we remember the civilian casualties the conscientious objectors and the peace activists. We remember our dead and our “enemy’s” dead. We remember that Jesus said “blessed are the peacemakers” and “love your enemies.” We remember that not all wars happen far away. We remember civil rights champions, indigenous land defenders, and environmental protectors. We also join in because peace is not the absence of the bad stuff it is the active stepping into what should be.
As I think about all these ideas of peace it also makes me think of the spirit of the city where I live. Something unique is happening in Hamilton, churches are working together. Ministries like GOHOP& True Cityhave been living into a spirit of peace by putting aside the differences between churches and working together to learn from each other. This is not the norm in other communities. What is different in Hamilton?
It might be the land. Geography matters and some locations are “thin places” where there is a special connection to an aspect of the divine. In Hamilton that connection is tied to peace and sharing. Our city falls under the “dish with one spoon” wampum agreement. This “wampum was created to bind the Nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy to the Great Law of Peace. The Dish represents the shared land, while One Spoon reinforces the idea of sharing and peace.” (McMaster Land Acknowledgements Guide)
Churches and Christians who wonder why they have found this spiritual resonance with sharing and peace have tapped into the legacy of the land they live on. The Creator has been whispering a spirit of peace here for a long time. Now there is still a lot of work to do (especially in the area of truth & reconciliation) but that is where all these narratives come together because “to remember is to work for peace!”