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Archive for September, 2011

ONE WEEK FROM TODAY:

A week from today, on September 23, 2011, the Rev. Peter Tibi, a Presbyterian Mission Co-Worker with RECONCILE, International (in South Sudan) and Visiting PCUSA International Peacemaker, will arrive in Columbia for a visit of several days.   This will be of interest to anyone interested in either peacebuilding or in Sudan and Africa missions. 

map-sudan Tibi

A flyer has been published HERE.   Please feel free to download it and post some copies, as well as announce the dates and locations of his speaking engagements!  There are several opportunities for those who are interested in hearing him.

A summary of his schedule is

· Saturday 9/24/11,9:00 AM – 3:00 PM, at Forest Lake Presbyterian (bring a brown bag lunch), Rev. Tibi will share in-depth discussion of his work in the morning. The afternoon will be a gathering of peacemakers for talk about Christian Conflict transformation.

· Sunday, 9/25/11, Rev. Tibi will share Sunday School and will preach at McGregor Presbyterian, followed by a church picnic at 5:30 P.M. that evening.

· Monday, 9/26/11,Rev. Tibi will speak at the University of South Carolina

· Tuesday, 9/27/11,6:30 PM, Presbyterian Student Center, University of South Carolina

· Wednesday, 9/28/11, 5:30 PM, Supper and an evening program at Shandon Presbyterian.

NOVEMBER:

Then, the next opportunity for building our church communities through development of skills in reconciliation will be in November. Forest Lake Presbyterian will act as host church for the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center to conduct one of its four national level trainings, "Mediation Skills Training Institute for Church Leaders".

This is a great opportunity to send a pastor or elder for training that will equip that person to train others in ways to turn conflict into opportunity for cooperation. This week long seminar is designed to equip church leaders to assess and to deal with conflict of any degree or level, whether it is merely to assist individuals in working through individual disagreement, or to engage an entire congregation in mediation of conflict that threatens to tear a church apart. Endorsements from leadership in other Presbyteries can be found HERE.

Although this may seem like an expensive training, consider the alternative? This training is designed to inoculate your congregation with the conflict-competence it takes to resist (or to heal from) divisive influences. Hosting this training in the Columbia area results in substantial cost savings over sending leadership to train in distant parts of the United States. Please consider sending at one or two members of your congregation who could commit to then come back and conduct more trainings for your general congregation.

MARCH OR APRIL OF 2012:

And then, on the weekend of April 21, 2012, Presbyterian minister Theresa Latini, Associate Professor of Congregational and Community Care at Luther Seminary (and author of the book, The Church and the Crisis of Community: A Practical Theology of Small-Group Ministry), has been tentatively scheduled to teach a weekend seminar on the communication technique called Nonviolent Communication (also known as Compassionate Communication). The aim of this seminar will be to strengthen families and congregations by increasing our skills in expressing to one another the things we feel most deeply about, without inciting retaliation, anger, or judgment. Theresa will help participants learn to use NVC as a tool in the church’s work of transforming broken and shallow forms of community into life-giving, life-sustaining relationships with God and others This will be an excellent workshop for people involved in congregational and personal care, such as Deacons and Stephen Ministers.

The Peacemaking Committee is looking for a church to host this workshop. Please call Alexandria Skinner at 803-414-0185 if your church would be excited to provide hospitality for this event.

Please share this information about upcoming events with your congregation and your church session!

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On Saturday, September 24, 2011, please come hear the Rev. Peter Tibi speak about the conflict transformation ministry of RECONCILE, International, in South Sudan and to learn more about conflict transformation in general.  Following Rev. Tibi’s talk and a short morning program, there will be a brown bag (bring your own) lunch.  Then, in the afternoon, Beth Padgett of Columbia’s Community Mediation Center is making arrangements for four different conflict resolution practitioners to speak about cutting edge techniques for peace building they use in their professional practices. 

The conference will be held at  Forest Lake Presbyterian Church , 6500 North Trenholm Road, Columbia, SC.  For more detail, see below: 

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The morning will be devoted to hearing about the work of RECONCILE, International (Resource Centre for Civil Leadership) in the world’s newest nation, South Sudan.  RECONCILE was established in 2003 by the New Sudan Council of Churches for the purpose of building peace.  Activities of RECONCILE presently range from individual trauma healing, to mediation and reconciliation of disputes on a tribal level, to training of Parliamentarians in their job duties as the new government comes into being.  The Rev. Peter Tibi, a former Deputy Executive Secretary of the New Sudan Council of Churches, is the current Executive Director of RECONCILE.

Lunch will be bring your own, brown-bag with tea and soft drinks provided.

In the afternoon, beginning at 1:00 P.M., Beth Padgett of the local Community Mediation Center is arranging for four different professionals to spend fifteen minutes each discussing a specific practice or technique that can be utilized in the field of conflict transformation, followed by some round table discussions.

The meeting will adjourn by about 3:00 P.M.

There is no cost or fee involved.  This is purely a time of sharing and inspiration for people involved locally and regionally in peace building and conflict transformation.  You are welcome to attend morning, afternoon, or both.  Please feel free to invite others working in the field of conflict transformation to attend, as well.  However, if you do plan to attend please send email to TrinityPeacemakers@gmail.com so that we will have an idea how many people to expect.

Also please mark your calendars for the weekend of April 21, 2012.  On that weekend, Professor Theresa Latini, Associate Professor of Congregational and Community Care Leadership at Luther Seminary, who is also trained extensively in Nonviolent Communication , will teach about this technique that will strengthen individuals, families and churches in the area of congregational care. 

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The Presbyterian Church has a deep and lasting commitment to the people of Sudan.  As part of that commitment, Presbyterian churches support mission co-workers Shelvis and Nancy Smith-Mather in their work building peace through the  RECONCILE, International (Resource Centre for Civil Leadership), in Yei Province in South Sudan. 

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Shelvis and Nancy participate in Reconcile’s training events that address inter-ethnic conflict.  Shelvis is principal of the Peace Institute, which offers three month trainings in community based trauma healing, peace studies, and conflict transformation. 

Nancy says, “I sense a powerful call on my life to reflect Jesus’ concern for the marginalized, the oppressed, the downtrodden, the sick, the poor, and the broken-hearted.”

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She continues, “In a region where 1 in 7 children do not celebrate their 5th birthday, 92 percent of the women cannot read or write, and many citizens have experienced more years of war than of peace in their lives, there is a great need for Jesus’s ministry of transformation.”

Please remember Shelvis and Nancy often in your prayers as they engage in this  important ministry of building peace through conflict transformation and reconciliation.   

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