Boston Bombing Emphasizes Need for Christian Peacemakers

By Stan Friedman

HOLLAND, MI (March 20, 2014) — Editor’s note: The 2014 Boston Marathon will be run April 21. With the race one month away, Covenant News Service is publishing stories of Covenanters who plan to run because of the deadly bombings last April 15. Today’s stories focus on Boaz Johnson, professor of biblical and theological studies at North Park University, and Kyle Small, associate dean and associate professor of church leadership at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan.

Last year’s deadly bombing at the Boston Marathon was more evidence of the need for Christians to live out their identity in Christ as peacemakers, says Covenant minister Kyle Small, who serves as associate dean and associate professor of church leadership at Western Theological Seminary here.

Attending camps as a child played an important role in helping Small understand what it means to be a Christian, he says, and he wants others to have that chance. So he is running the marathon to raise money for underprivileged children in Boston to attend Camp Squanto, which is part of Pilgrim Pines Conference Center in Swanzey, New Hampshire.

“I care deeply about forming kids to follow Jesus Christ and to become caring citizens in the world,” he says. “Investing in Christian camping is a powerful way to raise up young people for years to come. Summer camp provides the time and space to grow closer to Christ and to engage in important conversations with peers and staff as children grow to be adult disciples.”

Community Covenant Church in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, which is located near the start of the marathon, provided Small with his race number.

Although some 20,000 people run in the marathon, entering the event is difficult due to the large number of individuals eager to secure a place. In addition to the $150 entrance fee, the applicant also must have run a qualifying time at a previously certified marathon. Because Community Covenant already had the numbers, Small didn’t have to qualify or pay the fee.

The marathon organizing committee gave the numbers to the church, which raised camp scholarship funds for 34 years by offering parking in its lot for a minimal fee to race participants and onlookers. When the city consolidated parking elsewhere, it asked the church not to open its parking lot.

Community Covenant pastor Bruce Johnson is grateful for the commitment of the runners. “They are showing us how life is to be offered for the sake of others,” he says. “How appropriate it is that they run the day after Easter! Their willingness to train and run a marathon not only showers our church family with love and support, but also demonstrates their love for a world in need.”

To contribute to Small’s fundraising efforts, click here.

Tomorrow, we will publish stories of two Covenanters who ran in 2013 and will return for this year’s race. Julie Miller of Alexandria, Minnesota, had finished the race and was just a couple blocks away when the blasts occurred. Dave Cairns, executive director of Pilgrim Pines Conference Center, was only two-tenths of a mile from reaching the finish line. 

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