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Office of Public Witness
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The Office of Public Witness
Phone: (202) 543-1126
Fax: (202) 543-7755
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100 Maryland Ave. NE
Ste. 410
Washington, D.C. 20002

Advocacy Training Weekend 2014

 “Guide our feet into the path of peace.” (Luke 1:79)

CPJ training 2014

Blood, Sweat, and Tears

In our globalized economy, the majority of the products we buy and use everyday come from points all over the globe.  The pay and working condition in the factories that make our clothes, shoes, and electronics takes a huge toll that goes beyond the factory collapses, fires and the human-trafficking that sometimes makes the news.  Through advocacy, activism, and changed consumption patterns, people of faith can respond to the violence that stains the products we buy and use.

Leadership: Bryce Wiebe, Associate for Enough for Everyone, Presbyterian Hunger Program

Budget Violence: Ways to Challenge the Institutionalized Violence Created by our Spending Choices

Decisions about spending and cutting are not just numbers on a ledger.  From cuts to human services, to structural changes to Food Stamps, to increased spending on our military, there are many ways in which the U.S. writes violence into our federal budget.  Our spending choices are a statement of our priorities as a nation, so what does our budget say about us?  Join in a discussion of budget basics, specific examples of this “budget violence,” and a brainstorming session on where we go from here.

Leadership:  Leslie Woods, Representative for Domestic Poverty and Environmental Issues, Office of Public Witness, PC(USA)

Confronting Intimate Partner Violence through the Lens of Justice

Wanting Intimate Partner Violence to end is not enough. Words matters! Speaking matters! Using the lens of justice, learn practical ways to raise your voice against injustice! Move your desire into action!

Leadership: Dr. Deborah Blades has her Doctorate in International Feminist Theology from San Francisco Theological Seminary and her Masters in Theological Studies from Garrett Theological Seminary. She is part of the National Leadership Team of the Presbyterians against Domestic Violence Network providing advocacy and resources for the prevention of and healing from societal and domestic violence.

Drones and their Consequences for Peace

For good and for ill, drones are coming to US skies. Known for targeted killings in Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere, drones already patrol parts of the US border. Their value for surveillance, as well as search and rescue, weather and environmental monitoring, and possible cargo missions, will likely lead next year to permissive Federal Aviation Administration rules. Building on a resolution going to the General Assembly and a study for the Thoughtful Christian, Drones: Legitimate Weapons of War? ( )

Leadership:  Chris Iosso, Coordinator, Social Witness Policy;  Ginna Bairby, Managing Editor, Unbound, Social Witness Policy.

Empowered: Victims No More

Self-Development of People is a ministry committed to assisting people as they identify solutions to problems impacting them and their community.  In this workshop hear from people directly impacted by violence, how they have come together and how through self-empowerment are working to rid their community of this violence while at the same time healing themselves.  Learn how you can assist people in your community as they struggle for the right to live in peace without fear of violence.

Leadership:  Farah Tanis, Co-Founder and  Executive Director of Black Womens Blueprint, and transnational feminist and human rights activist.

Ending Violence against Women

From confronting overt physical violence to addressing institutionalized violence, Presbyterians and our partners are engaged in efforts to end all forms of violence against women. Learn several ways you can become involved in these efforts. 

Leadership: Rev. Kerri Allen, Advocacy Committee for Women's Concerns, PhD Student, Theology, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary; Shannon Beck, Reconciliation Catalyst, World Mission;Dr. Deborah Blades, National Leadership Team, Presbyterian's Against Domestic Violence; Jill Bolander Cohen, Member at Large, Justice & Peace, Presbyterian Women in the Synod of South Atlantic; Moderator: Mark Koenig, director, Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations

Faith Communities Working Together to Prevent Violence 

In the United States, when violence strikes our communities, people, including persons belonging to faith communities, come together to respond.  How can Presbyterian Christians partner with people of other faiths and people of no faith to cooperate in dismantling and preventing systemic and reoccurring violence? How do we define violence when we work cooperatively with religious and non-religious partners?  What models and resources exist for such work? Who might our partners be?

Leadership: Christine Hong, Associate for Theology: Interfaith Relations; Mark Koenig, Director, Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations

Is Poverty a Form of Violence?

Why are there ten times more child-sized coffins than adult-sized at a street corner in LaPaz, Bolivia?  We will explore what anthropologists call Structural Violence and think together about what this means for our understanding of violence and our mission work.

Leadership: Ruth Farrell, Coordinator, Presbyterian Hunger Program

Israel/Palestine and the Boycott of Settlement Products

As the current administration makes a big diplomatic push to resolve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the movement to boycott settlement products continues to strengthen.  Come here about the PC(USA) policy on the boycott of settlement products.  What are the settlements? What harm are they causing?  What products are being boycotted? And how can you join?

Leadership:  Bill Somplatsky-Jarman, Coordinator, Social Witness Ministries and MRTI; Carl Horton, Strategic Planning and Program Facilitator, Presbyterian Peacemaking Program; Catherine Gordon, Representative for International Issues, Office of Public Witness, PC(USA)

Nonviolent Direct Action 101

Come and be introduced to the basics of nonviolent direct action to bring about social change, using both biblical and historical examples (the life and teachings of Jesus, Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.). Nonviolent people power movements have shown themselves capable of challenging unjust systems, promoting human rights, even overthrowing dictators.  Jesus’ third way of nonviolent action may not work in all circumstances  but the historical record shows that it is a powerful means of engaging in conflict and can be used successfully in struggles for justice,human rights, and self-determination. 

Leadership:  Roger Scott Powers, pastor of Light Street Presbyterian Church in Baltimore and co-moderator of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship

Nonviolent Responses to the Occupation

Palestinians, Israelis, and others work in nonviolent ways to end the occupation of Palestine. This workshop will provide an overview of nonviolent efforts with a focus on the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) brings internationals to the West Bank to experience life under occupation. Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAs) provide protective presence to vulnerable communities, monitor and report human rights abuses and support Palestinians and Israelis working together for peace.

Leadership:  George Meek, Ecumenical Accompanier, Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel; Mark Koenig, Director, Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations

The Presbyterian Response to the Conflict in Syria

The complex regional and international politics surrounding the continuing civil war in Syria present challenging questions for all of us who pray for peace, but afflict most acutely those who live in the cross fire:  the families whose homes and lives have been invaded, the livelihoods destroyed, the millions displaced, whether internally or dwelling in camps in Lebanon, Jordan and along the border of Turkey. At stake are the lives of millions of Syrians, the stability of the Middle East, and, many believe, whether religious pluralism as a moderating force will continue to play a role in the heartland of many faiths.  Join us as we explore the tangled and broken threads of violence, necessity, resilience and hope that must be rewoven for the people of Syria to find a sustaining peace.        

Leadership: Sara Lisherness, Director, Compassion Peace and Justice Ministry, PC(USA); Rev. Laurie Kraus, Coordinator, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

Righteous anger, crafting a peaceful world.

Activism and social movements grow from a response to injustice.  The emotional response to violence is often sorrow and anger.  These are powerful emotions that can serve as the catalyst to act and the motivation to organize.  When it comes to organizing as peacemakers the question of how to engage anger and lament is important to the work of framing a response that does not add to the violence.  In this session we will look at the power of emotions and share best practices for harnessing anger and lament and perhaps engaging joy in the work toward the peaceable kingdom.

Leadership: Bryce Wiebe, Associate for Enough for Everyone, Presbyterian Hunger Program

Tapestry: Reweaving The Fabric of Community After Public Violence

This workshop explores the traumatic impact of ³Public Violence Events² on an individual, family, and community and focuses on the process of recovery after these events.  This narrative is told through the perspective and experiences of Responders from the National Response Team of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, who respond to explosions, bombings, shootings, and industrial accidents as part of a "human caused disaster² response and work with communities through the process of recovery and healing.  In this workshop we will view this 20 minute mini-documentary then explore together the impact of public violence on our communities and ourselves, and how we can bring the power of our sorrow and dismay into the service of healing and transforming the world.

Leadership: Laurie Kraus, Coordinator, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance; David Barnhart, Producer and Director, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

When the Earth is Destroyed: Structural and Spiritual Violence, and Ways to Peace

This workshop will explore violence against the earth as well as the spiritual and psychological trauma incurred by people whose landscapes are disrupted by violence, by populations most vulnerable to environmental degradation, and by people who have been separated from their home place in the earth through migration or other causes.  We will share ways to counter violence with healing practices and eco-justice action. 

Leadership:  Ruth Farrell, Coordinator, Presbyterian Hunger Program; Rev. Ashley Goff, Minister for Spiritual Formation, Church of the Pilgrims, PCUSA

When the Global Market Gets Violent

Global partners – and their Presbyterian allies – talk about the violent risks that threaten human rights workers in settings where mining companies fight government regulations and where land is grabbed out from underneath subsistence farmers who’ve lived there for generations. Consider joining us in Joining Hands – as an individual, as a congregation, as a presbytery – as we work to better lives.  

Leadership: Alexa Smith, Associate for Joining Hands Presbytery and Congregational Support, Presbyterian Hunger Program; Herman Kumara,  internationally recognized organizer in the fisheries sector and a prominent voice for human rights in Sri Lanka. He is the convener of the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement; Susan Saudek, board member of Salvadoran Enterprises for Women (SEW), an NGO that provides grants to rural women interested in starting small business.



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