Our special guest, Father Michael Lapsley will be arriving on October 20 for a four-day visit. Our Social Justice Committee has partnered with Father Lapsley’s organization, Healing of Memories, and the Chattanooga Police Department, to bring Father Michael to Chattanooga.

Father Michael’s work is grounded in restorative justice principles and inspired by his work with Bishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. While working as a freedom fighter in the Apartheid, Father Michael lost both hands and an eye from a mail bombing. A long recovery didn’t dampen his spirit and he returned to his calling to work for peace and healing.

During his visit, UUCC will be hosting two introductory workshops, Friday and Saturday, and he will speak at our worship service on Sunday morning, October 23. Following the service we will have a “comfort food” potluck service.

On Friday, October 21, Father Michael will lead members of the Chattanooga Police Department and members of the African American community through the Healing of Memories Workshop, an intense process based on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa. We hope that this initial weekend will be one step towards healing the divide that separates the local police department and the communities they are sworn to protect, thus promoting justice and equity for all community members. As Unitarian Universalists, we see this outreach as an opportunity to live our principles outside the walls of our church by respecting the worth of every person and promoting social justice.

Learn more about Father Michael – view the short PBS interview with Father Michael called “Wounded Priest.”