Journeys of Reconciliation is a hallmark program of Emory’s Office of Spiritual & Religious Life! For more than 30 years, we’ve offered students, faculty, staff and alumni a trans-formative experience of domestic and international travel to communities with a history of conflict. In these communities, we explore the root causes of conflict, listen to the joyous and tragic stories of people and organizations that work for peace and justice, and learn how to be agents of justice and peace. In May, we will travel to South Africa and explore race, memorials and reconciliation. Learn more and apply here: Journey to South Africa.
Reconciliation is a political term and a religious term – regularly debated and widely criticized. Fundamentally, reconciliation is about “right relationship” – a relationship hoped for even when it is not fully realized. Reconciliation cannot be realized alone. It requires multiple parties, whole communities, and a commitment to mutuality.
Twenty-four hour news networks and our own social media feeds indicate that today’s polarized environment values strong opinions and powerful voices. The cacophony of loud voices trying to be heard over others plays itself out in society – Charlottesville, police shootings, healthcare policy, and the list goes on.
Journeys of Reconciliation take us into communities to be transformed by stories of struggle, oppression, liberation, and healing. Journeys is an opportunity to participate in the story of the world through listening. Journeys is not a “mission trip” – we do not seek to offer reconciliation to the communities we visit. Rather, we enter communities with a spirit of courageous inquiry and respectful curiosity – to hear the stories of a difficult history, painful and life-giving truth telling, and visions of a hope-filled future. In our listening, we offer opportunities for healing to those we meet as we learn about the world, humanity, and ourselves. Having listened to the stories of South Africa, we imagine how we contribute to inclusive and justice communities at Emory and beyond.
Rev. Lisa Garvin
Associate Dean of the Chapel and Religious Life