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Baptist Peace Fellowship board approves 2014 projects


March 24, 2014

Members of the World Peace Networks (WPN) and Local Peace Networks (LPN) committees affirmed the following projects and focuses for 2014 at the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America’s (BPFNA) board meeting in February 2014. LPN focuses on projects within the BPFNA’s four member countries (Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the United States) while WPN focuses on projects outside of North America.

The WPN committee approved the following projects to receive funding through the Gavel Memorial World Peace Fund.

Established by the BPFNA board in 1994 using funds from the estate of Victor and Eileen Gavel and overseen by the board’s WPN committee, the Gavel Fund is designated to make grants for Conflict Transformation work around the world.

“The BPFNA method of Conflict Transformation takes conflict and uses it constructively to transform relationships between parties; making them aware of the underlying problems and creating empathy toward each other while settling differences,” said BPFNA Operations Coordinator Evelyn Hanneman. “The best part is that those participants are then equipped to take what they have learned back to their communities and teach others the skills of Conflict Transformation. We are thankful to have the Gavel Fund and the means to share this important work with people all around the world.”

This year that work includes:

Baptist Convention of Malawi Youth Easter Conference
April 18-19, 2014

Pan African Peace Network (PAP-NET) will train 30 youths in non-violence Conflict Transformation.

Latin American Baptist Peace Conference
April 21-23, 2014

The purpose of this conference is to strengthen the capacity to make peace in Latin America. The hope is to connect with Baptists from 15 Latin American countries and form a network of peacemakers to do peacework in their own communities.

The conference will focus on topics such as Social justice and peace in the Bible; Neo-liberalism and structural injustice; Nonviolent resistance; and Environmental conflicts and eco-justice.

Peacebuilding, Healing, and Reconciliation Programme (PHARP)
May 6-10, 2014

Specifically focusing on teachers, pastors, and community leaders, PHARP will equip 40 participants from communities with conflicts in Kenya with healing and reconciliation skills. These participants will then be equipped to teach others in their communities.

The training will cover the following topics: Understanding peace, conflict, and violence; causes of conflict; conflict mapping; conflict transformation; healthy and unhealthy ways of responding to conflict; trauma healing; and forgiveness and reconciliation. 

The training will focus on personal and group healing using traditional and modern principles to cover the diverse issues people are facing as a result of violent conflict. These include displacement, discrimination, famine, diseases and other natural disasters as well as socio-economic and inequity. PHARP will follow those trained for a year as they train people in their own communities.

North East India & South India Conflict Transformation trainings
September & October, 2014

North East India
This piece builds on previous work done that brought together 40 participants from the states of Nagaland, Assam and Manipur; all places where the BPFNA has had a significant role for more than 15 years.

This Conflict Transformation training will prepare and equip peace workers to deliver quality training and facilitation programs that they can take back to their communities using various methods of peacebuilding. It will mainly focus on attracting theological educators, administrators, and civil society leaders who have experience in working on peace, conflict, and development and wish to acquire, deepen, or exercise these skills.

The second part of this training will focus on the creation of support networks for conflict transformation, restorative justice, and peacebuilding efforts.

The training will be led by Conflict Transformation Trainer, Lee McKenna.

South India
While in India, Lee will also travel to Andhra Christian Theological College in Hyderabad to teach Conflict Transformation tools to the faculty. The college plans to add Conflict Transformation to its curriculum.


Resources for Churches
In 2014 the BPFNA will focus on the following resources for Churches:

·       What Your Church Can Do About Human Trafficking, the latest monograph in the Issue Monograph series. Other topics include gang violence, gun violence, domestic violence, and climate change.

·       Model Ministries, the quarterly electronic publication that shares stories from congregations working for peace and justice.

·       Peace Sunday materials: Each year the BPFNA encourages churches to celebrate Peace Sunday during the month of May in honor of Mother’s Day being a peace holiday. The BPFNA provides a range of materials for churches to use during their Peace Sunday service.

·       10 Great Things to Give for the Holidays, a list of socially and/or environmentally  responsible gifts to give during the holidays.

·       Baptist Fair Trade Project: A collaboration between Equal Exchange and the BPFNA to involve more Baptists and Baptist Congregations in the Fair Trade movement.

·      What Your Church Can Do About Moral Injury and Soul Repair, the latest up-and-coming monograph in the Issue Monograph series.

Conflict Transformation Trainings
Conflict Transformation (CT) is one of the ways the BPFNA gathers, equips and mobilizes others to work toward establishing foundations for peace in communities worldwide. CT focuses on transforming conflict by raising awareness about the underlying issues, empowering all parties involved, and teaching empathy toward others as differences are addressed.

As a large part of LPN work, several CT sessions have been scheduled for 2014.

Transform Me, Transform You, Transform the World
May 19-31, 2014; Asheville, NC

The BPFNA’s second-annual training for those in North America! Participants learn the skills of conflict transformation and nonviolence; the Bible and peacemaking; economic and media literacy; gender and violence; workshop design; and non-violent communication during this two-week training.

Training for American Baptist Churches of Rhode Island (ABCORI)
September 19-20; Exeter, RI

This two-day training, offered in partnership with ABCORI and the Baptist Peacemakers of Rhode Island, is a follow-up to an afternoon session offered during the fall of 2013.

Conflict Transformation training at Deborah’s House
Fall 2014; Tijuana, Mexico
A two-day training with the staff and residents of Deborah's House, a domestic violence shelter founded by Mexican Baptist Women and staffed by American Baptist missionaries Ray Schellinger and Adalia Gutierrez-Lee. This training will be offered in partnership with ABC's International Ministries.

Webinar in partnership with Baptist Women in Ministry
October 14, 2014

A discussion on transforming conflict in the church, offered as part of BWIM's monthly education series for ministers.

Programs for Seminarians
In 2014, the BPFNA will focus on the following programs for Seminarians.

Hispanic Summer Program
June 7-21, 2014; Mundelein, IL

Rev. Dr. Doris García Mayol.will be teaching a class called La Interculturalidad en el ST: Retos y Oportunidad para la Paz y Reconciliación (Interculturality in the OT: Challenge and Opportunity for Peace and Reconciliation)

Seminarians’ track at Summer Conference/Peace Camp
A special track for seminarians will be offered during our annual Peace Camp. These sessions will give students the opportunity to meet in small groups with world-class scholars and activists.

Class at the Mayan Intercultural Seminary (SIM)
Fall 2014; Chiapas, Mexico

BPFNA Board President Amaury Tanon-Santos will be teaching a class titled Latin American Theological and Ethical Challenges - Considering Peace as a Framework.

“All of our work is aimed, in the words of our mission statement, to gather, equip, and mobilize Baptists to build a culture of peace rooted in justice," said BPFNA Program Coordinator LeDayne McLeese Polaski. “Whether we’re helping people gain the skills to transform conflict, giving churches the information to begin or deepen a mission emphasis, leading seminarians to consider the means to peace in their own contexts, or asking people to consider the impact of the coffee they drink or the gifts they buy, we’re enabling people to turn peacemaking dreams into concrete deeds.”


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