Throughout the month of August, residents from Angola and beyond gathered at the invitation of local congregations (incl. Holy Family) and the Community Coalition for Change ("CCC") to practice dialogue and deliberation around important and often contentious social issues. Our goal was not only to practice listening to each other, but to discover common ground for local, next steps we might take.
In July, Fr. Tom Adamson was invited by Pastor Daryl Emry of Calvary Lutheran in Angola to join clergy from the Methodist, Congregational, and Roman Catholic churches to discern 4 social topics, which might be difficult for people to talk about with one another. Immigration, Gun Violence, Opioid Addiction, and Energy Choices were selected. Next the clergy invited the CCC, a group of Angola citizens with no religious affiliation who seek to work for a just society, to join in the design process.
Each session was well attended and produced a desire to take action, for example, the design team is looking into inviting an immigration lawyer to help the community learn more about the complexities of immigration law; and the Faith Community Health Clinic (housed in Holy Family) is working to collect unused prescription pain medications to prevent opioid abuse.
Special thanks to Angola Mayor Dick Hickman, to Fr. Joshua Nelson for attending all four sessions (commuting from Elkhart), and Missioner Adrien Niyongabo for attending the second session.
- the Rev. Tom Adamson, Holy Family Episcopal Church, Angola, IN