Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Can we Get Presbyterians on the Peace Train?

I just spent the day sending e-mails to nearly every person in the Holston Presbytery directory (talk about massive data entry) to get them on the peace train! Janet Chisolm sent me an e-mail with a cool logo and a description of what Creating a Culture of Peace is all about:



First the Logo:





Then the Description!

The innovative design of this national training program provides a holistic and practical foundation in spiritually-grounded active nonviolence. Participants come to recognize their own power for making personal and social changes without violence and improve their skills for respectful engagement with opponents, instead of confrontation that polarizes and demonizes. Unlike trainings that focus only on anti-war protest, Creating a Culture of Peace training is an incubator for participants to raise issues which most concern them --- group controversy and conflict, neighborhood violence, domestic violence, climate change, war and militarism, discrimination, video games, homelessness, peace education, and lack of health care. The training helps build a working community for peacemaking, through a shared foundation, learning new skills, and a guided experience in struggling and celebrating together.

The training is highly participatory and does not depend on reading a book or lectures. It draws upon the wisdom, experience and talents of all the participants and on the skills and knowledge of trainers. Mutual learning occurs through storytelling, meditation, small group sharing, brainstorming, role plays, thought-provoking exercises, music and movement. CCP offers training on nonviolence principles, analysis of social change and community-building, skills for peacemaking and resources.

Every group chooses and plans concrete projects for change. CCP emphasizes two forms of active nonviolence: Constructive Nonviolence, where we must put most of our time and effort, is about creating a just and peaceful culture by developing new relationships, new practices, and new institutions. Nonviolent Resistance includes tactics such as boycotts, petitions, and rallies; it is designed to protest, and even to interfere with, injustice and oppression. Both forms are enhanced by increased democratic participation.

Creating a Culture of Peace is offered in communities across the country and at Kirkridge Retreat and Study Center in Bangor, Pennsylvania, where the CCP national office is located. In its first four years, CCP traveled to 36 states and Palestine, trained thousands of participants and 350 trainers, and was adopted by national and regional faith groups and Veterans for Peace. Janet Chisholm, who established and coordinates CCP, refers trainers and provides resources, materials, and consultation for community groups and the teams of trainers. The CCP program reflects her experiences in anti-poverty work, religious education, teaching children and student teachers, peace activism and collaboration with other trainers. She was inspired and challenged by her faith tradition; the cloud of witnesses for peace, and her six years at the Fellowship of Reconciliation as its executive and nonviolence training coordinator.

Janet Chisholm, Bangor, PA

www.kirkridge.org
jgchisholm@aol.com
845-641-3648



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