Posted by: place holder | May 27, 2010

Heroic Apartheid Survivor to Preach at KUMC

Pastor Peggy is excited to announce that the Rev. Michael Lapsley will be preaching at Katonah UMC on Sunday, June 27, at the 10:00 am worship service. After the service, he’ll be showing a 15-minute video of his healing work which he started in South Africa. Please spread the news to your friends and invite them to come to hear Rev. Lapsley speak. You’ll be glad you did.

When the apartheid government ruled South Africa, it did not hesitate to use violence to maintain it’s minority, all-white government in power. But heroes like Father Michael Lapsley, a white, Anglican priest, fearlessly spoke out against the evil of apartheid and racial oppression. Consequently, the government tried to silence Father Lapsley by sending a letter bomb to kill him. But Father Lapsley did not die in the explosion. He was seriously injured, losing both of his hands, his right eye and the hearing in his right ear.

In Father Lapsley’s own words, “I am no longer a victim, nor even simply a survivor. I am a victor over evil, hatred and death. The apartheid regime and all who supported it carry the responsibility for the loss of millions of lives throughout Southern Africa.”

One of the most remarkable things about the end of apartheid in South Africa is that it happened without widespread violence by the oppressed or civil war. It was achieved through peaceful means. And that peaceful transition was not followed up with revenge killings. Both are a testimony to the moral and spiritual integrity of those who lead the struggle to end apartheid.

As a result of his personal experience of suffering along with the suffering of the people of South Africa, Father Lapsley has founded the Institute for the Healing of Memories, an international non-profit organization that gives the survivors of suffering and trauma a way to help one another heal. Father Lapsley believes that healing from trauma has a spiritual dimension, yet at the same time his workshops are open to people of all religious traditions as well as non-believers.

Father Lapsley travels the world conducting weekend healing workshops. These workshops are designed to help people heal from a wide variety of life traumas, not only political oppression. In the U.S., people carry burdens of wartime military service, abuse, crime, racism, immigration status, and past mistakes to name just a few. Using the arts and storytelling, participants examine their lives in terms of the histories of their families and nations. Using active listening to others’ stories breaks down barriers between people, leading to reconciliation.

Nelson Mandela has said of him, “Michaelʼs life represents a compelling metaphor: …a foreigner who came to our country and was transformed. . . [His] life is part of the tapestry of the many long journeys and struggles of our people.”

Last autumn, when Father Lapsley addressed a Certificate in Ministry and Human Services class of Rising Hope, Inc. at Green Haven Correctional Facility in nearby Stormville, one of the students asked him what he had been preaching that caused the government to want to kill him. His reply was, “Peace, love and justice.”

Father Lapsley will be leading a healing workshop from June 11 through June 13 at the Mariandale Retreat and Conference Center. The workshop is open to the public, but advance reservations are a must and enrollment is limited to 25. To learn more about Father Lapsley’s workshops, contact The Institute for Healing of Memories at or at P.O. Box 8195, White Plains, NY 10602.


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