Communities of Shalom
Communities of Shalom is a global movement of people of diverse backgrounds - ages, faiths, cultures, ethnicities, geographies - seeking the shalom of their communities. Shalom is a word drawn from the Hebrew scriptures, most often translated into English as "peace." But the participants in Communities of Shalom seek something more than just the absence of violence. To them, shalom refers to a state in which people individually and collectively experience health, prosperity, security, oneness with nature and neighbor, justice, peace and spiritual renewal.
In 1992, South Central Los Angeles became the focus of national attention when outrage over the acquittal of the two police officers responsible for the beating of Rodney King erupted into violence. Fires spread throughout Los Angeles. The local police and municipal government called on the National Guard to restore order. More than 50 people were killed and thousands of people were injured.
Meanwhile, the General Conference of the United Methodist Church was gathered in Los Angeles and church leaders felt compelled to respond to the violence around them. By the conclusion of the General Conference, they had passed the following resolution: "In solidarity and consultation with the indigenous people and local congregations in selected neighborhoods, the United Methodist Church commits itself to the creation of Shalom Zones." They established the first Shalom Zone in South Central Los Angeles.
Since then, the Communities of Shalom movement has spread throughout the United States and around the globe. The first Memphis Shalom Zones were established with the leadership of several local United Methodist congregations in 1999. In 2009, leaders in the local Communities of Shalom movement established Center for Transforming Communities to continue the work of shalom in the region. In the years since, CTC has helped form more than a dozen Shalom Zones in the Memphis area. You can read more about the Communities of Shalom movement by following this link to the National Shalom Resource Center, or you can learn about our local Shalom Zones by following this link to our most up-to-date Shalom Zone directory.
Threads of Shalom
Participants in Communities of Shalom movement aspire to incorporate these six threads of shalom in their work:
Systemic, sustainable change
Health, healing, harmony, and wholeness
Assets-Based Community Development (ABCD)
Love of God, self, and neighbor
Organizing for community transformation
Multi-faith, multi-cultural collaboration
To learn more about each of the six threads of shalom, please follow this link to our page "Why SHALOM?".
Shalom Zone Training
Participants in Communities of Shalom learn about these threads of shalom through an extensive training and participatory planning process facilitated by Center for Transforming Communities. Through the training, participants work together to form Shalom Teams and develop Shalom Plans that outline 5-year goals for their communities and the action steps they plan to take to achieve those goals. Then, with the ongoing support of Center for Transforming Communities, they work to implement their Shalom Plans and seek shalom in their communities.
If you and your church or organization is interested in forming a Shalom Team and participating in the next Shalom Zone Training, please contact Center for Transforming Communities at 901-324-3005.
Current Shalom Zones
Center for Transforming Communities works with a number of Shalom Zones in Memphis and the greater Memphis region. To find out if there is a Shalom Zone in your neighborhood or community, or to learn more about our Shalom Zone partners and what they do to transform their communities, visit our Shalom Zone Directory.