Resurrection Lutheran Church, Channahon, Illinois is very thankful for Luther College's FoRGo project! The Rev. Dr. Michael Barry visited Resurrection on a Sunday, preached the sermon, and led a workshop on the healing power of forgiveness.
Dr. Barry's presence and presentation empowered Resurrection to move beyond a general sense that Christians are supposed to forgive to actually feeling equipped and ready to practice forgiving. His personal and professional experience helped us see the power of forgiveness that comes from the heart, and his dedication to the art of forgiveness also helped us move past some of the myths and stumbling blocks that get in the way of forgiveness.
In the few days since Dr. Barry's visit, there has been an increase in heartfelt and open conversation about forgiveness. His work cites the need for this kind of dedication to forgiveness and this subsequent spike in forgiveness conversation in this congregation confirms that there is a yearning for it. For example, one gentleman who experienced the FoRGo Project immediately ordered Dr. Barry's book The Forgiveness Project, sent me (his pastor) excited texts about what he learned, and also talked to one of his neighbors about Dr. Barry's message and inspired him to get the book, too, when his neighbor was sharing some struggles within his family. In short, the FoRGo Project really sparked something life-giving within and through this congregation.
The FoRGo Project's message is grounded in sound theology, science, research, and personal and professional experience. Consequently, it hit home for many of the people in this church and in such a way that it moved people to address unforgiveness and to move toward becoming students of forgiveness. Resurrection Lutheran Church is grateful for the FoRGo Project and for the fruit it seems promising to bear.