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[UMNS-ALL-NEWS] UMNS# 552-'Weavings' remembers terrorists attacks, celebrates 20 years

From NewsDesk <NewsDesk@UMCOM.ORG>
Date Fri, 15 Sep 2006 16:15:30 -0500

'Weavings' remembers terrorists attacks, celebrates 20 years

Sep. 15, 2006 News media contact: Linda Green * (615) 7425470* Nashville {552}

NOTE: Photographs are available at

A UMNS Feature By Jeanette Pinkston*

Weavings magazine is marking its 20th anniversary this month as it explores issues related to another milestone: the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Published by the United Methodist Board of Discipleship's Upper Room Ministries division, the magazine's anniversary edition grapples with "Security." Weavings addresses the many security issues that people face today and, acknowledging life's ambiguities and tensions, points readers toward hope in God.

"This anniversary edition of Weavings calls into tension what it means to live in a post-9/11 reality, while trusting in the security of a God who is faithful and just," said the Rev. Karen Greenwaldt, top executive for the Board of Discipleship.

The bimonthly journal began in September 1986 with a small number of charter subscribers. Today, it is read by nearly 30,000 people from many denominations, with United Methodists representing a significant portion of the readership. Pastors, laity and small group leaders find value in using Weavings as part of local prayer groups and Bible study.

From the magazine's first issue, which explored "A Serious Call into a

Devout and Holy Life," to the 20th anniversary edition remembering the terrorist attacks on the United States, "the journal has invited its readers to come apart from the urgent bustle of life and rest for a while in the playful occupation of spiritual reading," said John Mogabgab, the resource's only editor.

Tom Carpenter, layperson and former executive with the United Methodist Publishing House, leads an ecumenical prayer group in his home, where members study Weavings and Spiritual Classics by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin in tandem.

"I started using Weavings about 12 years ago; it has made us grow," he said. "We're really devoted to Weavings. If it changes or is discontinued, I don't know what we would do."

The Rev. Mike Ripski, pastor of Belle Meade United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tenn., notes the journal "has fed my soul as a person and a pastor. My congregation has benefited through me. They have heard sermons inspired by articles in Weavings," he said. "Weavings is substantive without being academic; the articles are thoughtful without being so didactic that they lack inspiration."

In shaping the magazine's original vision, Mogabgab said he worked with the image of creating a space in which people could listen to God by listening to one another. "That image shaped my approach to the kind of content we wanted to include and also influenced the approach to artwork and design," he said. The journal is hospitable and invites readers into a setting where ancient Christian wisdom could be brought to bear on contemporary questions, he said.

In addition, there was a "companion image of exploring how God's life and human lives are being woven together in love. And this weaving takes place precisely in the world.

"The way we were imaging the Christian spiritual life was and still is this weaving together of God and human beings here, now - not in some sphere of experience or spiritual domain separate from real life," he said.

Over the years, Weavings has included articles by Henri Nouwen, a Roman Catholic priest, spiritual writer, and speaker who was formerly on the faculties of Notre Dame, Yale, and Harvard; Archbishop Desmond Tutu, an Anglican bishop, Nobel laureate, and peace activist in South Africa; and Hans J. Hillerbrand, a distinguished professor of history and religious studies and expert in the theology of Martin Luther.

Reflecting on the magazine's impact over the years, Mogabgab remembers attending a large clergy gathering, where a clergy couple told him how reading Weavings had given them a whole new vision of ministry and led them to change the direction of their ministry.

Then there was the letter from a prisoner in a state institution. In it, he related how reading Weavings had kept his friend from committing suicide. Readers have stated that the journal encourages, informs, challenges, affirms and accepts them. They added that it also reveals and illuminates aspects of their life with God that need further exploration.

What the future holds

Over the next 20 years, Weavings will continue living into its name by presenting an ever-richer tapestry of authors from a variety of Christian traditions and racial-ethnic backgrounds, Mogabgab said

The magazine also plans to provide readers with more guidance in spiritual practices, which will support people in their desire to live more fully what they are reading about in the pages of the journal.

"We want to help readers weave together in their own lives the vision of the Christian life that Weavings presents and the actual daily struggles with which they live," said Mogabgab.

Reflecting on the last 20 years, Mogabgab concluded, "I want to express my profound gratitude to the Board of Discipleship and Upper Room Ministries for the generous, sustained support they have given this ministry. I would also like to thank all our readers; they're really the ones who draw forth the themes and shape the way we approach each issue."

More information about Weavings is available at or by calling (800) 925-6847.

*Pinkston is director of media relations at the United Methodist Board of Discipleship.

News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or


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