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"Building Peace: Empowering Students to Lead and Make a Difference with Angelo Mante from Alive Fort Wayne's Peacemaker Academy""
Episode 6430th June 2023 • Be Encouraged with Bishop Julius C. Trimble • Bishop Julius C. Trimble
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Bishop Julius C. Trimble is the Resident Bishop of the Indiana Area of the United Methodist Church.

Bishop Trimble has the personal mission to encourage all people with the love of Jesus Christ to rise to their highest potential. It is his commitment to his personal mission that led Bishop Trimble to create the “To Be Encouraged” Podcast along with co-host Rev.Dr. Brad Miller.

Bishop Trimble says, “I am compelled by Jesus to share with you an encouraging word or two about Jesus, theology, the Bible, the pandemic, the environment, racism, voting rights, human sexuality, and the state of the United Methodist Church.”

To Be Encouraged with Bishop Julius C. Trimble is to be published weekly and is available at www.tobeencouraged.com and all the podcast directories.

https://www.inumc.org/bishop/office-of-the-bishop/

In Episode 064 of To Be Encouraged Bishop Julius C. Trimble and Rev. Dr. Brad Miller speak with Rev. Angelo Mante from “Alive Community Outreach Fort Wayne” (www.AliveFW.org) about the “Peacemaker Academy”

Bishop Julius C. Trimble, Rev. Dr. Brad Miller and guest Rev. Angelo Mante, discussed the importance of empowering youth to become peacemakers in their schools and communities. Through the incredible work of Alive Fort Wayne's Peacemaker Academy, they highlighted the transformative impact that young people can have when given the opportunity to lead. 

This episode offered valuable insights and three key takeaways for listeners.

Takeaway 1: Engaging with Youth Creates Positive Change

One of the most significant points made in the episode is the power of engaging with youth where they are. The speakers emphasized the importance of meeting young people in their communities, listening to their struggles, and providing support. By connecting with troubled youth, Alive Fort Wayne's program was able to guide them towards positive change and empower them to become advocates for peace. This takeaway reminds us that investing time and attention into young people can create a ripple effect of positive change in their lives and the lives of others.

Takeaway 2: Addressing the Triple Evils

The episode delved into Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s concept of the "triple evils": racism, poverty, and militarism. The speakers discussed how violence in Fort Wayne, like many other communities, is concentrated in areas affected by these triple evils. To combat violence effectively, it is crucial to address the root causes and work towards eradicating these systemic issues. The Peacemaker Academy exemplifies this by engaging students in discussions about nonviolence while focusing field trips on each of the triple evils. This takeaway serves as a reminder that peace cannot be achieved without simultaneously addressing the underlying social injustices.

Takeaway 3: Faith, Hope, and Action

A prevalent theme throughout the episode was the powerful role that faith plays in fueling the work of peacemaking. Both Bishop Trimble and Rev. Mante spoke about their faith in Jesus and the transformative power of the Spirit. Their belief in the eschatological present—that their work brings a glimpse of heaven to earth—provides them with hope and motivation, even in challenging times. Moreover, the speakers emphasized the importance of taking action, not just praying, to bring about meaningful change. This takeaway inspires listeners to integrate their faith with action, actively working towards creating a more peaceful and just world.

Conclusion:

Episode 064 of To Be Encouraged shed light on the incredible impact that youth can have when given the platform to lead and make a difference. From engaging troubled youth on a personal level to addressing the root causes of violence, empowering young leaders is key to building peaceful communities. By incorporating faith, hope, and action into their work, the Peacemaker Academy is actively creating space for heaven to touch earth. Ultimately, this episode encourages listeners to engage with youth, confront systemic injustices, and integrate their faith into tangible actions to promote peace. 

Angelo Mante and students from the Peacemaker Academy will be featured in an in-depth interview on a future Episode of To Be Encouraged with Bishop Julius C. Trimble.

Alive Fort Wayne Community Outreach

Timestamped Overview of Episode

00:01:52 Podcast episode about Peacemaker Academy with Rev. Angelo Manti.

00:12:37 Transforming troubled kid into peacemaker through intervention.

00:15:42 Unexpected tragedy led to transformative purpose.

00:20:08 Angelo Mante discusses Peacemaker Academy in Fort Wayne.

00:26:14 Nonviolence leadership program expands, exceeding expectations.

00:35:58 Youth leadership and support is crucial.

00:41:59 Fear of cutting someone off in society awash with violence; myth that armed society is polite.

00:48:50 Seek positive growth, young leaders are emerging.

00:53:18 Engage young people, put faith into action.

01:01:16 Listen to Be Encouraged, share, follow, and review.

Transcripts

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Hello, good people. Rev. Dr. Brad Miller coming to you from the

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floor of the Indiana Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church where

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we are on the theme of praying forward, no turning back. We're talking to

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people who are here at the conference serving in many different capacities, devoted,

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dedicated laypersons and clergy. And it includes

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our special guest today. And your name is? Angelo Manti.

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Angelo Manti, and where do you live and where do you serve? So I live

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in the great city of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and

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I'm the executive director of Alive Community Outreach. That's my primary appointment. I'm a

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deacon. My secondary appointment is at First Wayne UMC in Fort

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Wayne downtown. Awesome. Awesome. Well, the first basic question I'd like to

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ask our guest is, can you name 1 reason that you're a

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Christian? Just 1.

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Well, at least. So, yeah,

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I mean, there are rational

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reasons why I'm a Christian, but the primary

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reason is God

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saved my life. I was in a really dark place

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in my teenage years and had this

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sort of Damascus road experience and there were some

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people, some followers of Jesus that stepped into my life at

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that time. And I've just been on that journey

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ever since. And there have been a lot more reasons that have piled on from

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that point. But I think initially it's just God really pulled me from a dark,

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dark place. And I've been

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following Jesus ever since. Well that's awesome.

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The transition from a dark place to an illuminated

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place. That is awesome. Having shared that part of

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your story, Let's take a little deeper and that will lead us eventually to the

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ministry that you're doing. Tell me 1 reason why you

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are United Methodist. So I was,

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when I came out of that dark place, I was in a non-denominational

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church. Initially I

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had a desire to be a part of something larger

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than that isolated church community.

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So when I was looking at denominations,

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I liked the diversity within the United Methodist Church. There seemed to be a lot

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of political diversity, theological diversity that appealed to me

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and so that that's what got me to explore the United

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Methodist Church in the first place. But then as I dug

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deeper the theology of Wesley, Wesley's theology of

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grace. I love the dual emphasis on

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personal holiness and social holiness,

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the love of Scripture, you know, but

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also the emphasis on tradition

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and reason and experience and all of that just really

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resonated with me. But it was the diversity within the church

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body that initially drew me to United Methodism in the

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first place. That's awesome. The holiness

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and the social engagement are really important parts,

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I believe, and many people shared here today about why

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we're United Methodists. And you are really living out the

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holiness and the spiritual aspect and the social engagement in the

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ministries that you're involved with in Fort Wayne. So, unpack it for me a

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little bit. Tell me a little bit about what you're involved with. What is it?

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What do you do and who's it for? Yeah, so we

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got started a few years back. What's the name of it?

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I'm sorry, Alive Community Outreach. That's the name of the ministry.

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My cousin was murdered in Fort Wayne back in 2016

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we were living in Atlanta that happened, we

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felt th God was calling us back to Fort

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Wayne to do something about violence in the community.

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So we started out coming alongside families who'd been affected

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by violence, by homicide, and we're still very much committed to that work. We

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have support groups and connect families with resources, help

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with funeral, burial, all that. But the more that we did that, the

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more we felt like we really need to do something around prevention and

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intervention, something that would lead to less families needing

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support in the first place. So we started doing

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some peacemaking work in a local high

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school. So we're in a school called Southside High School right now in Fort

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Wayne. We have a Peacemaker Academy. So it's an intensive academy

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where we're coming alongside young people who want to be a part of the

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solution. We often talk about young people being the future and all of that,

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which is great, but they're the present. They can make a difference right now. So

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we're equipping them and empowering them to do something about

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violence in their school and community right now. And it's

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really taken off so much so that the superintendent of the school system up there

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wants to expand what we're doing into all the high schools in Fort Wayne,

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which is mind blowing because we were not setting out to do

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that. We've only been doing it for 2 years, but the fruit that we've seen

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already has just been incredible. Far beyond

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what we expected. Well, that's awesome. Tell me 1 story out of that. Tell me

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a story. Give me a testimony about a life

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changed. Yeah, so we started

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out in the school focusing mainly on leaders kids who are

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ready and willing to lead

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To build peace in their school But as we got in the school, we said

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we want to start Something else we start working with some kids

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who are struggling, really acting out in violence and

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something more along the lines of intervention. So we went to the

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assistant principal and we said, hey, we'd like to do this, do you have any

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kids that we might be able to work with. And he said, well, I got

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1 kid that you can start with because this kid is, you know, he tried

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to fight me, you know, the other day at a football game and this kid

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was on house arrest and just all kinds of issues, getting into

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fights. And so we were doing this Bible study at the

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church with a group of folks, mainly retirees,

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and we said, hey, can you start praying for this kid for

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us? We told him about all these issues that he was having at school. And

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so they started praying for him. That week that they were praying for

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him, Our staff person who's in the school connected with this kid

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on a deep level and learned about all this trauma in his life. His mom

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had OD'd and died in front of him when he was 7. His brother was

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murdered in front of him. Just all kinds of, just terrible trauma.

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And so this kid ended up saying that, you

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know, he knew that he was on a wrong path and he

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wanted to know what it would take for him to be a peacemaker. So that

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was last October. That statement in and of itself is pretty awesome

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isn't it? Oh my gosh. And actually that day, so our

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staff person who's in the school, he said, well, don't you have some beef

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with so and so, some kid in the school? He said, well, let's start right

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now. So he ended up getting those 2 guys in the same room

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and deescalated that, squashed that situation that they

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had. And this kid has been faithfully coming to our

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after school peace club and all of that. And so he is going

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to be in our peacemaker Academy this summer, which is

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not an intervention program, but we feel like he's far along

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on the journey that enough to where he's ready to

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really step up and and lead and so that's 1

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example. That's amazing because that you could take that story there

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Angelo and hopefully I'm sure that's what you're doing see it multiplied

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over and over again. Not only the 1 high school, but now the potential in

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the other schools in the school system. And who knows where it goes from

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there. And that'd be cool. And that group of folks who

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were praying for him. So after that happened, they

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said, well, what else can we do to get involved? So that's like that's a

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whole other thing. Now you know this group of folks, mainly retirees,

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are now coming into the school during lunch, giving out candy, talking

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to kids, eating lunch with them, and that's a whole other movement. We

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call it the peace granny and grampy movement.

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I love that. It's a little bit that's called it's much better than like

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mentor or whatever. Oh yeah yeah yeah yeah so it's

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it's that's there's just so many cool things that are happening with this it's really.

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How's all this changed you?

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Gosh that's a good question I mean

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I think I just all of this that's happening

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right now, we're looking into Expanding this program into the

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largest school district in the state of Indiana and all these things have happened so

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rapidly and the impact is way beyond

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What I ever anticipated and all of this happened

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None of this would be happening if my cousin weren't murdered. Sure. And so, like,

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it's... Out of tragedy came, hopefully, something that's productive. Yeah. So, I mean,

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it's taught me a lot on a personal level about

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turning, transforming pain and tragedy into purpose.

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Yeah. And making meaning out of something. And really, this is a story of

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resurrection. Sure. And this is what I've been preaching forever, but

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now it's like, this is- Come to fruition. Come to fruition,

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personally. How's this changed your church for yourself? Well,

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I mean, they are- They're on board, I assume.

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They're on board. So our relationship with them started with them

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offering us space, which was great because we needed space for our

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office and some programming. But they have really

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embraced this as their own. I mean, the whole Peace Granny and Grampy thing, I

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mean this is like that's their baby, huh? This is their baby, you know, they've

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adopted this school and they're getting involved in hands-on

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ways. That's awesome. In addition to the financial

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support they've provided. It's just, it's been awesome.

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Angela, today you're among the many people at the conference who's wearing an orange

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t-shirt dedicated about awareness, about violence. None of this, what

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you're sharing here, would be necessary if we didn't have so much

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violence in schools and communities. What's important,

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and what are some transferable principles about awareness, about

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violence that you're learning and what you've been sharing

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here that maybe can be applied to that urban

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center someplace else or that rural community or that

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suburban community? What can they learn about awareness that

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maybe you've learned that can be shared there? I

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think that what I've learned is that we

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can all do something. So I think when it

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comes to violence, school shootings, community violence, the

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conversation immediately goes to the political and to the legislative

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thing. And that just seems to be this thing that just goes in circles, never

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ending. And I think that we need to continue having the fight, that

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fight on the legislative level. There are things that should happen

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and need to happen, but while we're having that fight,

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there are things that can be done and that we need to

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do on the ground level, relationally, Like the work that we're

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doing in the schools, you know, there are kids that need

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connection, right? And so that's something

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that every single church, every single community can

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get involved, rather than just being frustrated that

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these things aren't happening, nothing's moving at the level. Do something, get

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engaged. Absolutely. And maybe there are some lessons learned from what you've experienced,

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and maybe even possibly some resources, things like that can be

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made available to help people. Sure. That'd be great. Absolutely.

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So, I want to bring us around to this area. The

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name of this podcast is to be encouraged. Having given all we've been

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talking about here, Angelo, give me something that

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you are encouraged about. Talk right into that camera there so people can see you

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and understand what you're what's something you're encouraged about. Something that I'm

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encouraged about? Yeah. Gosh, you know, I think

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going back to that idea of transforming

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pain into purpose, I think that I'm encouraged

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to be affirmed and reaffirmed that I serve

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a God of resurrection. A God that can

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turn, can flip any tragedy,

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anything painful that we've experienced, can flip that around

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and make something good, turn it into good.

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Awesome. You know, and so that continues to encourage me and I think that's the

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case for all of us. Yeah. As you said earlier, that's

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basically the story of resurrection. Yeah, yeah. Well, tell us again

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your name and where you're from and what you're all about. Angelo Manti from

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Fort Wayne, Indiana, was executive director of Alive Community Outreach.

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And I'm about making peace in the world and in my

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community. And you've been, and Angelo's been our guest today on the 2B

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Encourage podcast, coming to you live from the floor of the

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Indiana Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. Thank you, Angelo.

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Peace.

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And our special guest today is Angelo Manti. Am I saying that right,

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Angelo, your last name? Yeah, Manti. Manti. I'm going

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to start all over again. Hey, This is the to be encouraged podcast with Bishop

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Julius C. Tremble and our guest today from the streets of Fort

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Wayne is Angela Mantia Angelo, welcome to to be encouraged

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Thank you Can you help us welcome Angela to

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our podcast here today in a special circumstance.

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Yeah, thank you, Reverend Angelo, for the work and witness that

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you're doing in Fort Wayne that is having positive

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ripple effects. And hopefully you'll let us know what's actually

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happening today. I know you're very much committed to peacemaking

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and training others. So what's happening today?

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So this is the second day of our Peacemaker

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Academy summer program. And we spent the

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first half of the day in the classroom talking

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about a couple of the principles of nonviolence,

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Dr. King's principles, 6 principles of nonviolence. But this

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afternoon, we are out on the streets in Fort Wayne

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and taking our learning, doing a little field

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trip here. If I could turn the camera so you can see our group kind

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of walking in front of me. All right, yeah, awesome. So we

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got 19, or 16 rather, just

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awesome young high school leaders

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from Fort Wayne that are ready and willing

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and in the process of being equipped to be peacemakers.

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So it's been a pretty cool journey for us. So That's what we're doing right

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now. What's the goal

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of today? I mean, you're walking the streets, but

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what's the destination? So we

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are right now, And I'll

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flip this around again. So this is

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called the Old Fort.

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So this is near downtown, just north of

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downtown. And It's

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an old historic fort. It's a replica of the fort that was established

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when Fort Wayne was founded

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here in the late 1700s. We

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are here to tell a

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little bit of a different story. Because when they open

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up the fort for the summer, of course, you know, they have folks here

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dressed in old-time clothes and everything, you

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know, have caramel apples and tell the good

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old story and history of Fort Wayne,

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but there's another side to that story that we

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believe needs to be told. And so we spent this

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morning, not just talking about a couple of the principles of

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nonviolence, but also looking at violence in

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Fort Wayne and starting to unpack,

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you know, why there's violence in Fort Wayne and why it's

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concentrated in certain areas. And we went a little bit

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into Dr. King, what he called the triple evils and

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racism, poverty and militarism. And so we have field

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trips that are tied to each 1 of those evils.

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And today is kind of focused on the militarism

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part of that with this trip to the old fort. So we're just about

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getting ready to walk in right now, if you can see.

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Are you providing the leadership? Are there others that are gonna be speaking or

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are you providing the leadership?

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Yeah, right now, so for this particular trip,

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that's why this worked out because I was just on a cameraman duty

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for this particular 1. So 1 of

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our staff members, Chris,

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he's the 1 who's leading this field trip.

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But we have a team of folks, me and my

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wife and Chris, and we have a couple other volunteers from the

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community that are working with us, helping us to teach, helping

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to lead different parts of the field trip. And then when

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we, so it's like tomorrow, we're going to go, We're

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focused on poverty and we're going to go

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to the rescue mission. We're going to spend a couple of

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hours with them and they have some of their staff that's going to

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be teaching, talking about the homeless population

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that they work with and some of the root causes of

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homelessness and housing issues here in

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the city. So we're looking forward to learning from them tomorrow.

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Angel, tell us a little bit about the people who are coming to the program.

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The program is called the Peacemaker Academy. It's teenagers. Where are they

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coming from and how do they get connected to the Academy and

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are they wanting to be there? What's their attitude towards being a part of this?

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Oh yeah, so this is our third cohort

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And we started this really wanting to focus

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on 1 school. So Dr.

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King, he articulated this the last

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day that he was alive, right before he was assassinated, talked about

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he wanted to focus the movement

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on internationalizing and institutionalizing nonviolence. And

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so this whole vision

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came about initially saying, you know, how can we institutionalize

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nonviolence in 1 school? And

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Southside High School here in Fort Wayne was the school that we

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started with. But we're having conversations

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now with the district about expanding this across all

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the high schools here in Fort Wayne. But this Fort the first year that

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we've from a few other schools,

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predominantly Southside Hi have a

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really extensive p work with the

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school admi counselors to help us

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ide this program. So it's, th a process of recruitment, work with the school administrators,

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with the counselors to help us identify students for this program. So this is a

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leadership program. It's for kids who are already

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leading in some way, kids who wanna be a

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part of the solution in their school, in

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their community. And so we take them through a process of recruitment and

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they apply and we interview them. And we have

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12 to 15 spots, But this

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year we have 16 students because we had a few students

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from other schools. But yeah, I mean when we first set

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out on this journey, we were

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amazed at just how ready and willing the

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students were to learn and to lead when they when they showed up.

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They all interviewed well and you know so we we

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knew that we were getting good kids but you just never know until the rubber

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meets the road how they're going to respond not just to the summer

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portion of it, but the whole goal of the academy is

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to equip them and empower them over

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the summer to equip them with the skills,

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learning about nonviolence, learning about de-escalation, learning about root

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causes of violence and all of that, and then how to mobilize

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and organize for change. So that's what the

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summer is about. But then we walk with them after the summer

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throughout the course of the year and throughout the entire course of their time

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as students until they graduate to help them

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implement to apply those those skills that they learn

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in the school. And so there's some really cool things that

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they've initiated in the school and some real changes are

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happening. And this is just our third year, just

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starting our third year doing it. And it's been enough for the superintendent here in

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Fort Wayne to say, hey, I

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want this in every school. So, but yeah, the

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kids, the students, they continue to

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exceed all of our expectations and we had high expectations to begin with.

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So that's saying a lot.

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Reverend Angelo, I'm intentionally calling you Reverend

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because I know Dr. King was a Christian minister. People often

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try to describe him as a social activist or human rights

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advocate, but He was a gospel preacher. He was a

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Baptist minister and he was his theology

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and his philosophy was inspired not

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just by Christian teaching, obviously. With

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Gandhi and others, but How do you incorporate

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that? Because you know, I've been working in public schools. You know

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you're not proselytizing per se, but my assumption

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is that part of your motivation is the Gospel of

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Jesus Christ who said bless it out of peacemakers and And

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obviously teaching the nonviolence that King

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taught was also deeply rooted in a healthy, what I call

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a healthy Christian theology as well.

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Right, so for me,

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I would, if it weren't for my faith in

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Jesus and the in the the hope that I have

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And and even in our mission statement United Methodist Church and make disciples of

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Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Like I believe that

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that's possible because of Jesus, because the power

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of Jesus through the Spirit.

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If it weren't for my faith in Jesus, I wouldn't be doing this. I'd be

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out somewhere making a whole lot more

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money, just taking care of me and my family. And

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that would be it. But I believe in

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The sixth principle of nonviolence

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is the universe is on the side of justice. You know,

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that's a sort of a paraphrase of what Dr. King said

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several times in different writings, you know, that the moral arc of the

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universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

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You know, I think about the story arc of

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scripture where, you know, in the beginning,

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God created the heavens and the earth and there's this beautiful paradise and

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then all goes sideways

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and all the way from Genesis, all the way to the end,

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it's all kinds of ups and downs and all of that, but then we know

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the end of the story, right? That it comes full circle. It comes back

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to the garden, back to

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what God intended for humanity. And so

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we're, but then there's this idea of,

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use a big theological word, I've been thinking a lot about this lately,

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as it relates to that principle, the eschatological present,

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you know, that the work that we do

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here and now is in a very real sense

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participating with God in giving us a

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glimpse of heaven, you know, right here on earth.

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It's part of our prayer every Sunday, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on

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earth as it is in heaven. And I think that the work that

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we're doing, even though we're not proselytizing and all of

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that, working in the schools, but the work

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that we're doing every single day, we're getting a glimpse

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of that in the schools and in the work that we're doing with young

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people. So it's very, very, very much a part

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of inspired me to keep the f look

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bleak because with t our community and

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communi state and our country.

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Um when when it would be eas

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hope if we didn't have th to.

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Well, I want you to know that you're being covered by

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prayers, many people who don't live in Fort Wayne, but

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know of the work that you and others are doing. And

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you, I'm the secretary for your fan club. So I can

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tell you, I tell you that,

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so keep up the good work. 1 of the quotes, Brad, that I

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like to use, and I know Angelo's familiar with this because he's

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living it out. I think this is a King

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quote, and I'm not sure where Dr. King got it from.

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It might be an original King quote, but he says, I think

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I may be paraphrasing, change does not roll in

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on the wheels of inevitability. So change and

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progress doesn't happen. You have to be doing the

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thing, have a peacemaking academy. Somebody's got to learn

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these principles in order to practice the principles. Right.

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So we can pray. And I'm all for our

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annual conference theme, praying our way forward. But

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after we get through praying, we got to get up off our knees

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and to help bend that arc. So, you know, bend that moral

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arc, Angelo. So I think you're training

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arc benders, if that's such a word.

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I like that. I like it. Training arc benders.

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I think you got a cool new phrase there Bishop.

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Well, Angel, we want to let you go pretty soon back to what you need

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to be doing, but is there any just theme or

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message you want to say to share with our To Be

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Encouraged audience that is an encouraging word.

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We talked a little bit about how you're looking for solutions

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to the situation at hand, the violence and so on. So

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maybe a word of encouragement about the evidence of the solutions

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that you've seen.

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Yeah, so the

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encouragement

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is... I'm sorry, I got the first part

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of the question. Can you say the second part of the question 1 more time?

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I was distracted. About being in, the theme of our whole podcast is to be

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encouraged. So I want to hear from you something that is encouraging

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to you, maybe the fruits, the solutions that you've seen

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come out of the Peacemaker Academy, something you're

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encouraged by? So,

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you know, we embarked on this journey

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a couple of years ago, and to see

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where it is now has been absolutely

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incredible. And it has everything to do with,

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well, God, The spirit is up to something, right? The

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spirit is up to something and we feel like we're just part of

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it. But the kids,

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the kids, like this generation,

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they are ready to lead. They are making a difference. And I don't think that

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this is something that's unique to Southside High School or

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Fort Wayne, Indiana. We have students

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in schools all across our conference.

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And the word I would wanna encourage for

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our churches all across the conference is get

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involved. Get involved. I know there are some churches that

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maybe they don't have as many youth as they once had.

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The church that we're at downtown at First Wing Street. There

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used to be more youth there, but the way that we look at it is

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that we have 1, 500 kids in our youth group down at Southside High

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School, you know? And sometimes we

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gotta just, you gotta get out of the church and we have to

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go meet youth where they are because they are

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In our backyards they are in our community and they need so much

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support There's so many things that young people are dealing with

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We start every day of the Peacemaker Academy with a peace circle

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and the things that come out in that space, the trauma that students have

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experienced, it's incredible and they need us and we

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need them. So that would be

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my word of encouragement for our folks. A great,

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great word of encouragement to enter a segment here with Angela

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Manti. Bishop, why don't you lift up a prayer for Angela and for

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the young people and for the Peacemaker Academy. We'll close this, our

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segment here. Sure, certainly. And Angela, I want you to extend an

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invitation to some of the student leaders you're working

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with. We'd love to have some of them

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on the podcast, maybe come on with you and to

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talk about what they're learning, what's preparing them to be

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leaders. When I was about 16, I had a pastor who

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I expressed interest in doing some things and he just

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made it possible for me to do things that now I look back

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at it, I had no experience of speaking before people or being on a

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radio broadcast. So I want you to extend that

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invitation. We'd be glad to have you

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and have you and, or both some of

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your students, if you think if that's permissible.

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Absolutely, Let's make it happen. All right, let's pray. Lord God will give

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you thanks and praise. We just ask that you go on the streets

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of Fort Wayne as they are now at the Fort preparing for

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their time of learning about militarism. Lord,

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continue to allow fruit to come out of the peacemaking Academy.

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Bless Angelo and his leadership team and the

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volunteers surround them with a hedge of protection. Given

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the authority and the and the and the to

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master the Lord and the veracity to do things

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that others may say can't be done oh God we

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just ask that you open doors that have not been open

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close those doors that need to be closed bind the work of

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the evil 1 Lord and allow truth to be born out of this

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Peacemaker Academy. And we'll give you all the praise and all the

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glory in Jesus' name. Amen.

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Amen. And we thank Reverend Angelo Manti for being our guest

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on this segment of the To Be Encouraged podcast. You can find

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him, the organization's called Alive Fort Wayne, and they're at

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AliveFW.org, Peacemaker Academy. Angelo,

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thanks for being with us. Thanks, peace y'all, Thanks

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Bishop. Thank you so much. And as Angelo said,

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be a part of the solution. Be a part of the solution. There you

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go. Thanks Angelo. We're going to say goodbye to you. Well Bishop,

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give me some of your reaction to what we heard from

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Angelo Manti, Reverend Angelo Manti, from Fort Wayne to the

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Peacemaker Academy. Just react with me a little bit of what you heard and what

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kind of some of the emotion do you want to be feeling? Well, I'm inspired

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because he's just not about a motivation. He's

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about something my wife likes to talk about a lot, transformation.

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He's not just about invitation, inviting young

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people to participate. He's inviting young people to go through a

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prolonged process along with other young people

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to engage in being peacemakers in their schools

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and in their homes. This is not

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a task for the squeamish. This is not a task for

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those who think that there's a push,

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easy button you can push and all problems will be solved. So I

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think that Angelo and the folks who are in the Alive

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ministry deserve our prayers and our support.

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And I Just pray that God will continue to open up doors

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for that ministry. That's 1 of those things I think that can be

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replicated in other places. Yes, definitely. Yeah,

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and it may be areas where, Bishop, where folks such as

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yourself, Bishop, and myself, and through podcasting

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and certainly through conference and

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congregational denominational structures, this is an area where we

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can do some really practical and pragmatic things to help be

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transformative in an area which is pervasive

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in every community. And that's violence and wanting to

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support leadership development among young people. Don't you agree?

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Absolutely. I mean, our society is awash

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with violence. You're afraid to cut somebody

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off by accident. And I was

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in a parking lot the other day and it was my poor driving. And

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I recognized, I kind of held up my hand, basically confessional saying,

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I pulled out too soon. But now, you gotta be cautious because

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you never know people can go off quickly. And we

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see that in the last several months with people

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first shooting first and thinking second. Yeah,

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just crazy. I wanna share something. I've been reading this book

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called American Carnage. And this is the only thing I'm

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going to say relative about this on this podcast about

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the truth about guns and public safety. It's

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from the book American Carnage. There's a myth, 1 of the

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myths about guns in America is that an armed society

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is a polite society. Can you believe that, Brad?

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I hear something similar to that a lot. I really do. There's a whole theory

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and here it is. 1 of the favorite slogans of gun right advocates is

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an armed society is a polite society. The idea

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here is that carrying weapons raises the level of

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civility in society by deterring individuals who

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may become violent from assaulting others. Why?

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It's assumed that people would think twice before committing harm to

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others because others might also

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be armed and could intervene. The fact

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though is if an armed society were a more, indeed

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a more polite society, guess the, you can guess what's coming.

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The United States would be the safest and most polite of

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among all advanced societies. US has the

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highest number of civilian held guns per capita.

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120 guns for every 100 people,

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more than any other country. Ridiculous. We will

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leave it to others to determine the politeness of Americans relative to

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people in other countries. America does stand alone

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relative to other high income countries with regard to its

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high levels of gun related mortality.

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That's the kind of thinking around arm every teacher in a public school. This same

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sort of thinking that goes there. I'm sorry. Go ahead, Bishop. I know you want

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to say about that. That's all I wanted to say about that. Yeah, and

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I'm not I'm not I'm not bad mouthing

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people who own guns. I'm just

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saying we cannot have an idolatrous

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obsession with guns and

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then try to use that as a rationale for creating

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a more polite and humane society.

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We can't arm our way into being

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more humane. It's just not working.

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As Dr. Phil would say, how's that working for you?

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It reminds me of the Golden Calf where they tried to make something

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happen out of nothing, you know, that kind of thing. And I'm also reminded

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that and listening to to Angelo

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talk about what is happening with the Peacemaker

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Academy, which arose out of a local church,

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I think that's a big piece we need to talk about here, arose out

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of a church that I believe took seriously

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the beatitude from Jesus, blessed are the

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peacemakers, and not just

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happy are the people who talk about peace, you know, or just pray about

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peace. The peacemakers are people get involved and engaged.

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Can you say a word

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about the transition that the local church that Angel's a part of did to help

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this to happen, to be a peacemaker? Well, I think

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he's connected with First Church, Fort Wayne.

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And you've gotta have pastor and lay leadership that are willing to say, hey,

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you know, we may not have the biggest youth group in town, but

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we got a great facility. We got a place where people can meet. And

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we're close enough to walk to some of the places where young people are.

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And once they make that decision to say, our church has to

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liv but more importantly,

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out the church building, then

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everything. So I think do I know

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that's happening I in that district

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doing, I do this conference wide c

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find the closest school t churches, pray for

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those to find out how we might participate with them,

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whether it's backpack support or school

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watch or after school programming.

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There's something we all can be doing. And as he reminded

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us, our job is not just to make disciples of Jesus.

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Jesus wasn't looking just to have more people follow. Jesus was

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looking for people to literally transform the

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societies that they lived in. Yeah, we talked about finding

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solutions, and he talked about the problems

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that Martin Luther King Jr. Uplifted, racism,

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poverty, militarism, and how through

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their program here, the Peacemaker Academy, they're

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looking for solutions. And I think they're looking for a

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solution through innovative ideas that come from the

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people who are going to be implementing a lot of that. That's our young people

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and lifting them up. We're not trying to do as ministry or something solution

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for them that we are engaged with this in an integrated manner.

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That's pretty cool, isn't it? That is pretty cool. And, uh,

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uh, it's, it's, it's not, again, it's not easy work,

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but if it's not done, then we just biding our

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time until we all perish in a

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sea of hopelessness. And so I think we have to encourage people who are

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doing ministry like this. And also, I think something Angelo

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said too was, you know, get involved, get involved in something.

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Yeah. Get involved in something that has a positive,

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positive impact on our communities

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and on our families. We need to stop

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spending so much time looking for people to blame

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or to vilify others

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and spend more time on engaging, listening to each

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other's stories and encouraging those

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young people as well as older people, I would say, to engage

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in positive behavior rooted

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in love of God and love of labor.

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Look for the positive and engage in and grow on that. The abundance

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of John 10 10 instead of the, you know, the rust that he comes to

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steal and kill and destroy. Let's look for the abundant life and that type of

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thing. And I'm going to confess to you, I admit, I want to admit to

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you something here. When I first was talking to Angela about their program

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here and about how there was young people involved with community,

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developing the leadership and so on, I thought perhaps,

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perhaps some of these young people might be somehow

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kind of forced to do this or some sort of a correctional

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situation. I thought that might be the case, I didn't know. I was

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so thrilled and delighted to hear these are

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people that have stepped up as leaders who

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want to be part of a solution, find that kind of thing. And we need

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to be encouraged, don't we, by our young people who are saying, okay,

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you baby boomers and others who kind of messed things up for

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us, we're stepping up now. Can we be encouraged by that today,

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Bishop? Absolutely. And I think we just had a myth

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busted. And that myth was that, well, young people,

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they're just concerned about gaming and being in front

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of a TV and so forth or

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on their cell phones. But no, these young

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people, like so many thousands of others, want to

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see a better, they wanna be in safe schools.

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They wanna be in safe communities. They wanna have

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a positive outlook on their life. And

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I think being engaged in this kind of Peacemaker Academy

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certainly lends itself to the kind of leadership that we

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often say we want to see in our young people. Well,

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let's just bring the conversation around to this. We had a great conversation with

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Reverend Angela Amante from AliveFortWayne.org.

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It's AliveFW.org and the Peacemaker

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Academy And you are all about Bishop

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being a voice of encouragement to an often discouraged world.

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And the reason why the Peacemaker Academy exists is to speak

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to violence in the Fort Wayne community and to do something

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about it. And so let's just bring it around to this. What are you encouraged

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about here today, based on our conversation, or anything

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else that we've talked about here that you want to leave a message for our

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listeners here today as we conclude our conversation? Well,

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I'd like our listeners to know that Reverend Angelo Manti is

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an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church. That's a clergy

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person whose particular calling connects him with

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community as well as church. So he's not just concerned about

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what's happening in the church or for the church membership. But as a

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deacon, his specific calling is to connect the

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church with its community. So I'm encouraged by that.

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I'm encouraged by the fruit. He felt called to this ministry out of

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another whole state. He was living in Georgia and felt called here as

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a result of a death of a cousin in

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Fort Wayne and he felt called by God to do that. I'd just like

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to say to our listeners you may feel called to do

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something totally different but whatever you're called to do may it be

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something that brings life and hope.

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And someone said the best way to encourage yourself is to

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help others. And I've always

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felt encouraged when I'm, Brad, engaged in conversation

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with others like yourself and others and our listeners,

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because I feel like as long as I'm doing that, I too can

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benefit as a result of that encouragement.

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God is honored, God is honored when we allow

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God's sweet Holy Spirit to cause us to be

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faith-driven. I'm quoting the Reverend Calvin Austin

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Jr. From Columbus, from Ohio,

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in his book Driven by Faith, that we should

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be driven by our faith because God has said

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that God will be glorified according to John 15. God will be

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glorified. And that if we ask God and according to

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his will, we will bear much fruit

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because God will help us in that which we are asking God to help us

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do. So I say all of that to encourage our listeners

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and to thank everyone for whatever little part you're

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doing to make the world a better place.

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Appreciate that. I think in a kind of a synopsis of that, I think

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Reverend Mantee said, well, get involved. And you're saying, you know, same

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thing, get engaged. Get involved, get engaged. And

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that becomes the fruits out of that. The solutions start to

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happen when people get involved. Pretty darn Westland too, isn't it? You know,

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in terms of what Westlake was all about, getting on the horse

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and going to the fields and the factories. Do all the good you can

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and all the places that you can. And all the time you can. Yeah,

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that's a great place for us to end our

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conversation here today. I did want to say that we made a commitment, and

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it was mentioned a little bit in our conversation with Angela Manti, that in

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the future we will be having a conversation with

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Reverend Angela Manti a little in-depth

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about the origins of

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Alive Fort Wayne and the Peacemaker

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Academy and how that came about and

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Angelo has quite a personal story to tell about personal

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tragedy as well in his life, which helped to lead to the

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formation of this. And I would encourage people to tune

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into that. That'll be a part 2 of

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this podcast episode that we're doing. And we hope, as we mentioned here today,

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to actually have some of the participants, some of the young people who are involved

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with the Peacemaker Academy. I know that I believe that it's in the plan and

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in the works. And I'm gonna be looking forward to those conversations. I know you

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are Bishop, as we continue this conversation as well.

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And his name is a Reverend Angelo Manti and the name of the organization

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is Alive Fort Wayne org. The website is alivefw.org.

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You can find out more about it. And we appreciate you listening to

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us, Bishop Julius C. Tremble, and myself, Reverend Dr.

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Brad Miller, here on the To Be Encouraged

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podcast, the podcast where we look to offer an

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encouraging word to an often discouraged world.

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