City Highlight: Los Angeles

This month we’re heading on over to Los Angeles! Be sure to visit our city’s page for more information about serving with us in the "City of Angels". News from the Los Angeles Team

The recent terror attacks on Paris and San Bernardino were horrific. Though I was not personally affected by the violence, my heart broke as I watched a country mourn and a city try to make sense of such heinous cruelty. Reactions to the violence of Paris and San Bernardino have been varied. In many ways, people have come together and united in support and encouragement for those affected. However, a more unfortunate outcome of the terror attacks has been a growing fear and division among people here and abroad. There is a growing fear of those in the Islamic refugee community. This fear has begun dividing communities and encouraging a spirit of fragmentation.

As followers of Christ we have been given, by God, the ministry of reconciliation. Where there is violence and hate, we are called to bring peace and hope. In 2 Corinthians 5:18-19, it is said that “all this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sings against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation”. We are called to work towards understanding those who are different from us and stand up to the fear seeping into our society. Seeking understanding and educating ourselves is a good first step in the reconciliation process.

Reconciliation is a process that requires learning, understanding, and action. At CSM LA, we hope to build bridges with the diverse communities of Los Angeles. One of the ways we hope to do this is by resourcing our groups with tools to help build cross-cultural relationships. We have a crossing cultures orientation our groups go through at the beginning of their week to prepare them for encountering Los Angeles diverse community. Also in January, we are holding an Urban Intensive called “Bridging Racial Divides: Seeking Justice through Social Work and Education”. During the week-long program, individuals will learn about racial tensions and injustices that play out in Los Angeles. They will discover ways to combat injustices through the social work and educations systems. Through these programs, we hope to educate students about different communities and equip them with resources so they can actively bring about reconciliation in their communities.

Taking action looks different in every community. Seeking reconciliation may look like educating yourself on the different cultures in your community and on the challenges their communities face. It may also look like standing in solidarity with those who are different than you and supporting their causes. Racial reconciliation may look like praying for justice and unity for the different people in your society. Whatever steps God is encouraging us to take, we must be faithful in bridging divides and allying ourselves those who do not have as loud a voice in society as we do.