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Presbyterians to Discuss Peacemaking in Times of War and Terror

( [email protected] ) Sep 01, 2004 08:28 PM EDT

A national colloquium on war, terrorism and peace, has been slated for Sept. 27-29 at the Stony Point Center in New York. The round table discussions, co-sponsored by the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Program (ACSWP) and the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program (PPP), will center on the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA)’s position on issues of peacemaking and justice during challenging times of war and terrorism.

Keynote speakers to the event include the Rev James Forbes, senior minister of The Riverside Church in New York City and brainchild behind the massive Mobilization 2004 anti-poverty effort. Forbes’ opening keynote address will be “Challenging and Overcoming the Culture of Fear and a Vision of Peacemaking.”

The PCUSA’s moderator, Elder Rick Ufford-Chase, will also speak at the colloquium, with a speech entitled, “The Globalizing Economy, Living in an Empire and Being the Faithful Church.”

According to the Rev. Peter A. Sulyok, ACSWP’s coordinator and a planning team member, “The national colloquium is an opportunity for the church to explore how we respond together seeking God’s peace in this time and place.”

The centerpiece of the debates will be two resolutions approved by the PCUSA’s General Assembly in June, Violence, Religion, and Terrorism; and Iraq: Our Responsibility and the Future. Both papers were penned by the ACSWP.

According to the PCUSA, the original writing team of the Resolution on Violence, Religion, and Terrorism will “describe the usefulness of the paper to assist the church in making responsible judgments in difficult and challenging situations concerning possible responses to terror.”

Discussions on the second piece, “Iraq: Our Responsibility and the Future,” will be led by ACSWP team member Edward LeRoy Long.

“This will be the first time since the Assembly met for the church to discuss the impact (of the papers) in the life and work of local congregations,” explained Sulvok. “Both are carefully thought out reflections on two critical issues facing our society and the churches. Both papers offer the church a challenge individually as members and corporately as congregations.”

Sulvok also explained the format of the colloquiums as being small-group-oriented.

“Each of the three colloquiums are designed to be interactive and assist in integrating the presentations,” Sulyok said. “Small groups will be formed to build relations among the participants and facilitate discussions on how we are living out our faith in a time of war.”

Sulyok said workshops are designed for participants to “enter into deeper reflection” on areas of specific interest as well as to move them toward advocacy training and skill building.

The Stony Point colloquium is entitled “Peacemaking in a Time of Terror, War and Violence”. For more information, contact Sulvok by phone (800) 728-7228, ext. 5814, or by email: [email protected]