In partnership with the Mountain Forum for Peace and the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, FUMC Boulder is sponsoring a public lecture on Friday October 19th and workshop on Saturday October 20th by international healer and hero for peace, Michael Lapsley.
In 1990 Father Lapsley, an Anglican priest active in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, opened a letter bomb that nearly killed him. Father Lapsley’s life has taken him on an inspiring journey that led to the development of a process for healing from trauma of all kinds. His work at the Institute for Healing of Memories teaches victims how to let go of a painful past event and no longer give it the power to define them. Our Joe Agne has studied under Father Lapsley and says, “One choice Father Lapsley had was to seek revenge but he did not go there. I find this interesting. What can Michael Lapsley teach us in a time of post 9/11 revenge?”
For a wonderful introduction to Father Lapsley and his work, watch this 15 minute video produced by Melvin McCray.
Father Lapsley will be with us October 19th, 20th and 21st. Prior to his visit you might like to read his book “Redeeming the Past: My Journey from Freedom Fighter to Healer”. See below for a brief synopsis of his book, which is now available. Contact the church office if you’re interested in borrowing (or borrow with an option to buy) a copy.
Father Michael’s story is one of courage and hope. Written in collaboration with Stephen Karakashian and with a Forward by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the book tells how, as a young priest, Father Michael was sent from his birthplace in New Zealand to South Africa by his religious order and describes the shock of his encounter with the brutality of apartheid repression. He soon began denouncing the government and was expelled from the country. He went into exile, where the radical demands of his faith soon led him to abandon pacifism, join the liberation movement, and embrace armed struggle. He paid dearly for his commitment when, in 1990, he was sent a letter bomb by agents of the apartheid government that blew away both his hands and blinded him in one eye. Nevertheless the regime failed to kill him, just as it failed to crush aspirations of the South African people.
When the struggle against apartheid was finally won, Father Michael, now with a serious permanent disability, returned to his adopted country of South Africa. There he saw that the whole nation was in need of healing and that everyone had a story to tell. Drawing from his own experience, he developed a community based, collective process of healing and founded an organization called The Institute for Healing of Memories to carry out this work.
The Institute’s worldwide healing work
With its origins in South Africa, the Institute for Healing Memories now offers workshops that help participants heal emotional, psychological and spiritual wounds in conflict areas around the world. In his book, Father Michael describes his work with refugees, offenders, people living with HIV/AIDS, war veterans and victims of human rights abuses in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. Some of the people he has worked with around the world have written brief contributions to the book.