By Mark Ambrogi
For Carmel United Methodist Church staff, there is no better time for a series on forgiveness.
“We feel it’s more important than ever with so much anger, violence and negative discourse in our nation and world right now,” said John Kouns, the church’s minister of adult discipleship. “We’re trying to make an attempt to provide biblical context and biblical examples of why it is so necessary to forgive. That includes forgiving those who have wronged you and forgiving those who may not think dress or act like you. We’re also talking about the need to forgive ourselves, because that often is neglected. As a nation, we’re going to talk about how, collectively, we have to pray for and forgive our enemies, which is a difficult topic that will stir debate and discussion. Biblically the mandate is clear; we must forgive in order to be forgiven.”
Jeanne Bishop, author of the book “Change of Heart: Justice, Mercy and Making Peace with My Sister’s Killer” will lead off the Forgiveness five-week series Aug. 14 at Carmel United Methodist Church.
Bishop will speak about her journey to forgiveness during services beginning at 8:30, 9:30 and 11 a.m. She will sign her book and answer questions after the last two services. The church is supplying a complimentary brunch.
Bishop’s sister, Nancy Bishop Langert, was shot to death with her husband, Richard, and their unborn child in 1990. Since then, Bishop, whose story has been featured on “48 Hours,” has become an advocate for gun-violence protection, abolition of the death penalty and exoneration of the innocent.
Senior Pastor Rev. Patti Napier will speak at the three services on how to ask for forgiveness Aug. 21 and on who to forgive and forgiving others Aug. 28. Associate Pastor Rev. Michael Collins will speak on forgiving yourself.
On Aug. 21, Aug. 28 and Sept. 4, Scott McDermid, director of contemporary services, will speak at the 11 a.m. contemporary services, following the same topics.
The series will conclude Sept. 11, the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, with David Carlson, a professor of philosophy and religion at Franklin College, speaking about forgiveness in the face of national tragedy. Carlson speaks regularly on ISIS and Islam.
The traditional and contemporary services will be combined Aug. 14 and Sept. 11.