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.

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One Response to “Reflections on the AWP Conference”

  1. lgudmundsson Says:

    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.”


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