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Breakfast Unites South Pasadena in Prayer

Fuller Theological Seminary’s Rev. Mark Roberts told more than 100 people attending an annual prayer breakfast last week his thoughts on the gathering’s theme: “Sowing Peace: In our Hearts, Homes and Community.”
Representatives from the local religious organizations, along with city officials and Councilmembers, school district administrators, first responders and residents alike shared breakfast and fellowship at the ReNew United Methodist Church in South Pasadena, where the annual gathering was held this year.
Roberts, the keynote speaker, broke the meeting’s theme into segments and described peace as a “universal flourishing” or a “way things ought to be.”
Roberts is a senior strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership where he focuses on the spiritual development of leaders. He is the founder of the De Pree course “Flourishing in the Third Third of Life,” and is a Presbyterian pastor.
“Sowing,” Roberts suggested, is to exercise God’s wisdom and also to be gentle with those around us.
Roberts went on to describe a “sower of peace” as someone who is gentle, willing to yield and full of mercy.
Attending to the needs of the family is a way of sowing peace, and he suggested that people could see the subject of families as one where many others could come to receive encouragement.
People also could sow peace in their community by showing a connection of mutual support.
“You might be thinking not just of yourself, but of our neighbors,” Roberts said.
He told the story about how his wife, during COVID, would walk the dog several times a day, and through doing so had gotten to know more about her neighbors.
Roberts also spoke of honoring those who support peace, such as was done with the grants announced at the prayer breakfast.
The South Pasadena Prayer Breakfast is a nonprofit organization that has raised more than $30,000 for local charities and programs since 2016. This year, the group awarded $1,500 grants to MyKkids, SPEF and YoungLife.
Acting in love is a way of sowing peace in our hearts, Roberts suggested.
“It’s his gift to us to be open to the work of God,” he said.
At the end of the hourlong event, ReNew’s Senior Pastor Sam Park, who also helped organize the event, sang a song called “Love That Will Not Let Me Go,” and left the group with his own message.
Park shared an experience through his own work as volunteer chaplain for the police force, where he felt the loss of a young person to suicide.
“If you are ever alone, you are not alone,” Park said. “Our faith’s tradition says that God loves us with ever-lasting love. If you ever feel alone, reach out to God as God reaches out to us.”

First published in the May 10 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

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