Revival of Adventist Women for Peace

Our blog has been dormant for too long and there are peace issues we want to bring to the table. We hope you will join us in commenting on peace issues of interest to you. With the recent events in Syria and the elementary school shooting in Connecticut, we felt it was important to open the dialog about the ways in which peacemaking can impact acts of violence. We also want to alert you to the Camino de Santiago “Walk for Peace” that is being organized for September of 2013. We’re still in the planning stages, so watch for more details in January, 2013. We’ll invite you to join us from whatever part of the world you’re from.

Church president cites peacemaking

It appears that all our work in promoting peace and related issues is not being lost on our church leaders. I have recently found an interesting article by Dr. Jan Paulsen, president of the Seventh-day Adventist church, in the May 2008 issue of ADVENTIST WORLD, North American Division edition, pp.8-9. It’s entitled “Five Things the World Needs to Know About Us” and among the five, number 4 is “Peacemakers.” He cites the church’s failures during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the dangers of “silence in the face of evil,” complicity that is as wrong as wielding a killing weapon. He goes on to say: “I want Seventh-day Adventists to be known as people who lift high their commitment to hope and peace. Let us speak from the pulpit and show through our actions that we oppose anthing that instills hatred or inflames violence.” He points out that “[W]e can demonstrate in our congregations and in our relationships within the community that Christ has the power to heal divisions of all kinds: personal, political, or ethnic” and that being peacemakers will mean taking risks at times. But “difficulty does not excuse us from this fundamental Christian responsibility to teach and model peace.”

Lourdes Morales-Gudmundsson

Feeding our Families

A short while ago, it seemed obvious that the major issues in this US presidential election would be the Iraq War and “Family Values” (which had seemed to me to be more concerned with cells than keeping current humans alive). Now, the polls show that what is uppermost in the thinking of most voters is-“how can I keep my own family going?”

The war and the hot topic of undocumented migrants are still discussed, but mostly in terms of how they are impacting the “normal” “real” (white) American family financially.

Take a global look at what it takes to feed a family in various countries, not just at the quantity of the food and the price, but also the type of food, whether a third of it is empty expensive calories and soft drinks, how much is processed food or high priced from packaging, and how much is REAL food. Well in the US, most of us mothers do not have time to deal with natural foods and raw vegetables. Our lifestyle now demands that both parents have jobs outside the home. What would happen to the “American lifestyle” if it were truly respected for a mother to stay home and be there when the kids came home from school and had a healthy non-processed meal for the family to come home to?

PS During my incredible month in Costa Rica this last summer, the directors of our Spanish language school told me that by going to the local farmers’ market, they were able to buy all of their groceries for a week for the 2 of them for $25 dollars. With the great variety of freshly picked produce, they also knew that everything that they put into their mouths was brimming with nutrients.

Victoria Bresee

Reflections on the AWP Conference

For all of those wondering about the conference this past Saturday, it was a particularly stimulating experience. The day started out with Dr. Ginger Harwood’s presentation of the history of the SDA Church stance on conflicts from the Civil War to the present. It was the perfect start to a day diverse with dialog on different dimensions of peacemaking. Lively question and answer sessions followed each speaker; in fact, at several points, time constraints prevented more questions from being asked. Of course, breaks, lunch, and dinner provided excellent opportunity for further conversation and community-building among the attendees and speakers.

It was a refreshing surprise to see the variety of facets to peace. Presentations were given on the issues of gang violence (Bernadine Irwin), new ways of viewing evangelism (Ryan Bell), the importance of looking at civic education as a place to promote peace (Tiffany Hunter), experiences from Haiti and different outlooks on peace (Nadege Robertson-Tippenhauer), reports on peacemaking from SIFE and Students for Social Justice at LSU, women in conflict zones (Trisha Famisaran), and peace in the world with a highlight on media bias (Ron Osborn).

All together, it was not only informational but inspirational. One of the attendees, in fact, commented that she had been to other such conferences, but that the quality of presentations and discussions held at this one was extraordinary. The conference attracted not only those associated with LSU, but also some from other faiths in the Riverside community, who diversified the conversation even further. For me, it was inspiring to meet so many others eager to discuss new ideas, leaving me with a lasting impression of the spirit of communion.

Continuing the Conversation

Hello all,

I am thrilled to say that the Adventist Women 4 Peace blog is finally back and running again… with one small change— a new editor. Professor Victoria Bresee has, unfortunately, stepped down. I know that she will be greatly missed, as she has made a huge step in connecting not only Adventist Women worldwide, but any who believe in the cause for peace and social justice. I believe that the best way to acknowledge the importance of another’s work is to not let it die, and that is one of the reasons I was very excited to meet with Professor Bresee about continuing the blog.

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Zulema Ibarra, and I am currently a senior at La Sierra University, finishing up an individual major in Emerging Voices in Cross-Cultural America. Yes, it’s a mouthful, but as it was designed to cater to my specific interests, I have loved every one of my classes. They have taken me through a fascinating discovery of the modern American voice, by examining in-depth the experiences and opinions of those whose voices have not always been heard, from women to immigrants to the rural poor. This, coupled with my love for diversity and progress, has led me to my position as co-president of the Students for Social Justice Club at La Sierra. Other activities I enjoy are drama productions, music (I was a part of the LSU Orchestra for three years), writing, discussions of all sorts, observing nature and change, and finding the beauty in life.

I was born in Mexico, but have been raised in the U.S. all my life. The East Coast is where my heart is, having lived in upstate New York until my early teens. However, I am indebted to the Southern California open-mindedness I’ve experienced for my intellectual development. Further, the desert air and expansive fields of the Imperial Valley, where I currently call home, have softened my heart towards the uniqueness of the desert and fostered my interest in migrant labor and rural poverty.

Coming from these lenses, I hope to build onto Professor Bresee’s foundation, and invite all of you to help me keep the conversation ongoing. Blogging is an excellent way of learning from each other and engaging in meaningful and constructive dialogue, so I welcome you to share your thoughts. I will be updating as often as possible and at least once a week, but being a student, I know that there may be a couple weeks’ gap here and there (specifically during finals). If you would like to contribute a post to this blog, please contact me and we can discuss the details of posting it. If you have any suggestions or ideas, please reply to this post or email me at Remember to keep checking the blog for new posts coming soon!

–Zulema Ibarra


Making Peace in Times of War: Adventist Responses to Violence

Peace Conference

Sponsored by Adventist Women for Peace and La Sierra University

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Hole Memorial Auditorium
La Sierra University
4500 Riverwalk Parkway
Riverside, California 92515
951-785-2257 or 2120
  • 9:30-10:00 am Registration and light breakfast, Welcome
  • 10:00-10:45 am Keynote Address: “The Present as History: SDA Peacemaking in Times of Violence” – Ginger Hanks-Harwood
  • 10:45-10:55 am Discussion/ Q & A
  • 10:55-11:10 am BREAK
  • 11:10-11:45 am Peace at Home: “Peace Medicine: Healing from War in Our Homes” – Akivah Northern
  • 11:45-12:20 pm Peace in the Community: “Amid the Gangs…Peace” – Bernadine Irwin
    • 12:20-1:30 pm LUNCH
    • 1:30-2:05 pm Peace in the Community: “Peace and Justice as Evangelism In Hollywood” – Ryan Bell
    • 2:05-2:40 pm Peace in the Nation: “Civic Education in the United States after 9/11” – Tiffany Hunter
    • 2:40-2:55 pm BREAK
      • 2:55-3:30 pm. Peace in the Nation: “Fondation Espoir:The Different Pieces of Peace” – Florence Bellande-Robertson
      • 3:30-3:50 pm Peace in the World: Reports Students in Free Enterprise: Yorlenis Aguirre, Social Justice Club: Zulema Ibarra
      • 3:50-4:25 pm Peace in the World: “International Peacemakers: Women in Conflict Zones” – Trisha Famisaran
      • 4:25-5:10 pm Peace in the World: “In Praise of a Modest Patriotism” – Ronald Osborn
      • 5:10-5:15 pm Peace prayers and readings
      • 5:30-6:30 pm SUPPER (Cactus Room)
      • 7:00 pm Film: “God Sleeps in Rwanda” with Norah Bagirinka (Alumni Pavilion)

      Blogs by Female Theologians

      Michael L. Westmoreland-White, Ph.D., at Levellers–Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers, has started compiling an annotated list of women that blog about theology.

      He comments on “the dearth of women who have theology blogs. Female pastors with broadly pastoral blogs can be found in the blog-ring RevGalPals. And Christian (and Jewish, etc.) women with personal blogs that sometimes or regularly speak to broadly religious themes are far more common. But academically-oriented theology blogs run by women are fairly rare–despite the growth of feminist theology and female theologians in both ecclesial and academic posts. In some Ivy League divinity schools the number of female students is actually larger than male students and this has been true for over a decade. So, I am not entirely certain why this is not reflected in the “blogosphere”–unless it just means that the women are (a) too busy having real lives, (b) too busy writing BOOKS instead of blogging.

      Here are the few female-run theology blogs of which I am aware. If you know of others, let me know.

      Cynthia Nielsen, an adjunct instructor in philosophy and graduate student in philosophy, has a great blog called Per Caritatem. The focus is usually on Medieval theology and philosophy of religion–and the synthesis in the Middle Ages was so close that the line between those disciplines was very blurred.

      Parables is the personal blog of a Mennonite theology student (and subject of an upcoming Peace Blogger interview), Abigail Miller, using the nom de blog, “espiritu paz,” or Spirit of Peace. She blogs on many subjects, but theology is definitely in the mix.

      Pam Garrud (Pam BG) is a British Methodist “probationer minister,” originally from the U.S. PamBG’s Blog often contains theological reflections. She also has a separate book blog where she is currently blogging through Stephen Sykes’ The Story of Atonement. (Pam will also be interviewed in the Peace Blogger interviews as soon as I can get them going again.)”

      For the rest of the list–

      Victoria Bresee