Looking Back on Reconciliation Initiative

By Neil Earle, Reconcile Editor

Neil Earle

In the 1960s, as a young student at Memorial University on the east coast of Canada, my peers and I were transfixed by the news reports coming out of the U.S. South – the dramatic clash of dog and protesters, of police and seamstresses, of hoses and paddy wagons that were the stuff of our nightly news. Coming through above it all was the soaring rhetoric of Martin Luther King, Jr: “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.”

Now there was a man who knew how to write, a good leader!

Years later, after many fits and starts and stumblings and detours in my own life, I found myself in 1999 being asked to edit a newsletter dedicated in some small, feeble way to the enormous need for social justice. We had no full- time staff, little money and few resources. But start it we did, and it is hard to believe that ten years have passed since the first issue came out in humble black and white, titled “Church Opens Reconciliation Office.”

Neil with Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assistant Bernard Lafayette at a Black History event in 2018.

The Worldwide Church of God (now named Grace Communion International), our sponsor, had been through its own upheaval in the last 15 years and has been our silent partner. Looking back, there have been some interesting happenings these past ten years of Reconcile’s existence. Our coverage of the search for racial and social justice has sometimes been quiet and low-key and sometimes tinged with drama.

Perhaps the highlight has been the three awards ORM won in 2008. One was from the Pasadena Police Department for its help in coordinating “Days of Dialogue” between the police and at-risk youth. Along the way we partnered with our invaluable friends at the Western Justice Center and other community agencies.

The public racial healing seminar at Ambassador Auditorium with former basketball star A.C. Green in January 2004 stands out, as does the Prayer Walk Curtis May and I took in Richmond, VA in March 2007 with some great Christian friends along the old slave trail. You had to be there…

Quieter and more meaningful moments as an Editor included the interview with Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords and devout Christian, Baroness Caroline Cox (Spring 2005) or making space for Pat DeVorss of my hometown of Duarte, CA to tell her story of Rwanda. Also the lively chat with Judge Dorothy Nelson, a legend in the field of social justice in the Southland.

These were great opportunities, all of them rendered in beautiful style by our art director Mike Riley who makes us look better than our small budget allows.

Thank you readers for a great ten years!

Summer 2009