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Peacebuilding brings Candler faculty to General Seminary

Peacebuilding brings Candler faculty to General Seminary

Practical Peacebuilding will be the first collaborative program of the new partnership between Candler and General Seminary. Candler faculty will come to Chelsea Square and teach the technique for addressing conflict.

Candler School of Theology and The General Theological Seminary (GTS) are offering a new joint continuing education program in peacebuilding and conflict transformation Jan. 9-12, 2013, at the Desmond Tutu Center on the GTS campus in New York.

“Practical Peacebuilding: Skills and Spiritual Practices for Conflict Transformation” is an ecumenical program designed for clergy, other church leaders, and anyone interested in learning practical skills in conflict transformation. Continuing education units are available, and online registration is now open.

“Conflict is simmering within our congregations and communities, yet it can be the catalyst for positive change,” said Candler Dean Jan Love. “There is strong interest among Candler and GTS alumni for continuing education in peacebuilding, and our partnership has made it possible to design a program that appeals to a wide range of Christian leaders and others focused on this important work.”

“The Desmond Tutu Center is the ideal site for launching a new program that incorporates many of the philosophies and practices Bishop Tutu used in his work to end apartheid in South Africa,” said Lang Lowrey, GTS president. “One of the program’s goals is to honor this legacy by being inclusive of all denominations and viewpoints, and helping participants approach the work within their own personal context.”

Practical Peacebuilding teaches participants to prepare to engage conflict constructively, strengthens skills necessary to facilitate a conflict transformation process, and identifies spiritual practices and resources vital to sustaining this work. The Practical Peacebuilding curriculum incorporates time for worship and reflection so that participants attend to God’s presence in their lives, in sites of conflict, and in the process of transformation. It also includes interaction with practitioners, both in the classroom and during field trips to peacebuilding locations in the New York area.

Two Candler faculty will lead the program. Luther E. Smith Jr., professor of church and community, is a renowned expert on congregational renewal, community activism, and the spirituality of theologian Howard Thurman. Ellen Ott Marshall, associate professor of Christian ethics and conflict transformation, is a leading authority on religious peacebuilding and conflict transformation. They will center their teaching around the approaches of John Paul Lederach, widely known for his international conflict transformation work, and Ron Kraybill, peace advisor to the United Nations and author of Peaceskills. They also will utilize writings and spiritual practices of Thurman, Thich Nhat Hanh, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Dorothy Day.

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