I am honored to be part of the Sedona International City of Peace, which, in furthering it’s mission of “fostering a culture of peace” in part through “forgiveness, reconciliation and honoring diversity and inclusion” is extremely pleased to be able to bring Father Michael Lapsley, an Anglican priest and South African anti-apartheid/social justice activist, to Sedona on Wednesday, May 21st.
In 1973, Father Michael arrived in Durban, South Africa, as an undergraduate student. Soon thereafter, during the height of apartheid repression, he became chaplain to students at both black and white universities in Durban. In 1976, shocked by the horror of what he was seeing, he began to speak out strongly on behalf of schoolchildren who were being shot, detained and tortured and, as a result, was expelled from the country. He went to live in Lesotho, where he continued his studies and became a member of the African National Congress and a chaplain to the organization in exile. During this period he traveled the world, mobilizing faith communities, in particular, to oppose apartheid and support the liberation struggle.
“I realized that if I was filled with hatred and bitterness and a desire for revenge, they would have failed to kill the body, but they would have killed the soul.” Father Michael Lapsley
In 1990, just after Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, Father Michael suffered the loss of his hands and the sight in one eye after opening a letter bomb sent to him by the Civil Cooperation Bureau, a covert outfit of the apartheid security forces. After a long recovery, Father Michael committed to dedicating his life to helping to heal emotional, psychological and spiritual wounds inflicted by war, human rights abuses and other traumatic circumstances. He initially undertook this vitally important work as part of the South African Commission for Truth and Reconciliation headed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and has continued this journey as the founder and director of the Institute for Healing Memories.
Our time with Father Lapsley will take place at Unity of Sedona, 65 Deer Trail, on Wednesday May 21st in two segments as follows:
THE TALK (5:00-6:30pm): In this presentation, Father Michael will discuss his personal journey from freedom fighter to wounded healer and the insights and lessons that have emerged, leaving time for a short Q&A and book signing.
THE BRIDGE WORK (7:00-8:30pm): For those that wish to dig deeper, and especially for healers, leaders and others who act as bridge within our community, Father Michael will share the tools and practices he uses to support communities in remaining attentive to how our divided past impacts us today, creating a safe and supportive space for confronting sources of alienation, misunderstanding, and suffering, and how deep listening and acknowledging can help to heal the cultural fabric of our community.