Forgiveness is the power of God at work in our lives: removing obstacles that have limited love and well-being; lifting burdens that have crushed our spirits and distorted our full humanity; tending carefully to wounds of the soul; releasing us from constraints that have stifled reconciliation and the practice of community; liberating us to see and experience ourselves, and those around us, through the eyes and heart of God.
In the gospels, Jesus is the embodiment of forgiveness. Throughout his ministry, he recognizes people, honors people, unburdens people, and frees them from all forms of bondage. He re-members their stories in ways that redefine each person’s sense of identity and purpose. Jesus touches the untouchable, un-paralyzes the paralyzed, gives gifts and receives them, changes lives and is impacted by them, all the while confronting injustice with love and death with life.
In this workshop, we risk immersing ourselves in gospel stories that will claim our own stories and call forth our deepest expressions of confession, gratitude, generosity, and hope. We learn steps to forgiving someone else, and are challenged to allow ourselves to be forgiven.
It is helpful to think of forgiveness as a range of imagination. Forgiveness, in all its forms, breaks cycles of violence and diminishment, recognizing the image of God in all people. Participants in this workshop should come expecting something new to happen!
Scott Hutchinson has been a pastor in the United Church of Christ for 29 years. In addition to the thrill of proclaiming the gospel and the privilege of pastoral care, he loves to teach and learn the ways of forgiveness and peace-building. His formal education includes degrees in divinity, counseling and human relations and social work, with additional schooling in trauma healing and family therapy. He worked for thirteen years in counseling and community mental health settings prior to becoming a pastor and served as a prison chaplain.
He first taught The Transforming Power of Forgiveness as a course at a nearby seminary. The experience was dynamic and life-giving. Over the years, Scott has led multiple courses and workshops on forgiveness in community settings, faith communities and liberation schools. He has worked with CPE students, exploring the power of forgiveness and its application in their pastoral work and spiritual growth.
Scott has taught and consulted with congregations experiencing deep brokenness and division, and has worked with wounded pastors. Another significant focus of his ministry has been in tending the soul wounds of war borne by veterans, their families and communities. When people inquire about his passion for and immersion in the subject of forgiveness, he explains that his life has also been a laboratory in it! He is founder of The Forgiveness Lab (forgivenesslab.com).