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Advocacy Training Weekend

Join us for Advocacy Training Weekend

“Confronting Chaos, Forging Community – Racism, Militarism, and Materialism”

April 21-24, 2017 | Washington, DC

Over the past year, our nation has experienced a divisive election in which racism, xenophobia, and religious bigotry were a constant. We still find racism an open wound in our nation, resulting in the disproportionate killing of black and brown bodies and stunting their lives through unjust economic and social structures. The militarization of our police is a reflection not only of broken communal values, but also a lopsided foreign policy that spends drastically more on defense than diplomacy or development. Militarism continues to be the United States’ overriding approach to resolving conflict, despite studies that show the effectiveness of peacebuilding and the power of non-violence. Extreme materialism threatens our souls and our very planet, as prosperity narratives and unchecked capitalism spreads despite overwhelming scientific evidence that our current path is unsustainable. As in Dr. King’s time, we teeter precariously between chaos and community.

Join us April 21 for Compassion Peace and Justice Training Day at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington DC.  Gather with your fellow Presbyterians as we look at how our church and our partners are confronting racism, materialism, and militarism in our country and abroad.  In plenaries and workshops we will analyze our current context and offer concrete tools for members and their congregations to address these urgent issues.  We will learn how we can “forge community” amidst the current chaos in our country.

After Compassion Peace and Justice Training Day join the ecumenical community for Ecumenical Advocacy Days April 21-24.  Almost one thousand Christian advocates join us every year for a weekend of workshops, lectures, and concrete actions addressing the ills of our nation.   The weekend culminates in a lobby day on Monday, April 24th when we raise our voices in the halls of power for a more just society.

CPJ Training Days

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Ecumenical Advocacy Days

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April 21
April 21-24

New York Avenue Presbyterian Church
1313 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC



Doubletree Hotel by Hilton
Washington, DC-Crystal City

CPJ Training Day Keynote Speakers

Kevin Johnson

  Kevin Johnson was born and raised in Washington, D.C. Like Moses motivated to climb a mountain to observe a bush aflame, Kevin climbed the stairwell of a high rise under construction to gaze from the rooftop upon the flames engulfing his hometown following the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was during that rooftop experience where he asked the Lord a question which has motivated him to this day; “What could make people so angry?”

Kevin’s journey has led him from the predominantly black Baptist church (where he was reared and ordained) to the Sojourners Community (where as a member he served as a community organizer and children’s ministry staffer) to the Presbyterian Church (USA). For the past 22 years he has pastored Calvary in Detroit, MI., and has served on the Advisory Committee to the General Assembly on Social Witness Policy since 2012.

Floretta Watkins

The Reverend Floretta L. Watkins was born to Mr.  and Mrs. Lawrence and the late Flossie E. Watkins in Atlanta, GA.  In 1993, she graduated from Johnson C. Smith Seminary of the Interdenominational Theological Seminary with an emphasis in Homiletics and Christian Education. After seminary she was ordained as Minister of Word and Sacrament and immediately began her vocational service to the church as Presbytery Staff of Campus Ministry at South Carolina State University and Claflin College.  It was there that Reverend Watkins developed her “down to earth” approach to ministry serving with imagination, energy, and humor.

Since receiving her first call to ministry, “Pastor Flo” has served churches in Lancaster, SC, and Rock Hill, SC, and currently serves Seigle Avenue Presbyterian Church.  Known for its interracial make-up, Reverend Watkins opened the doors for more inclusion and acceptance of all of God’s children to become an affirming church for LGBTQ members and officers.   

In 1997, she was commissioned to the rank of 1st Lieutenant in the United States Air Force National Guard as the first African American female Chaplain.   Today she serves as Deputy Wing Chaplain to the 145th Air National Guard. 

Reverend Watkins has served on the Presbytery Council and served as chair of the Mission and Justice Committee of Council. In 2013, she also proudly served as the first African American Clergy female Moderator of the Presbytery of Charlotte.   

Featured Panelists

Amal Nassar

Amal Nassar and her family cultivate peace and reconciliation through children’s summer camps, education for women, and inviting visitors to their West Bank farm called the Tent of Nations. Guided by their desire for bridge-building, the Nassar family has spent 20 years welcoming people from all over the world and teaching those around them in the West Bank about nonviolence, love of the land, and reconciliation, saying boldly, “We refuse to be enemies.”

Elona Street-Stewart

Elona Street-Stewart, Delaware Nanticoke, is a ruling elder and member of Dayton Avenue Presbyterian Church in Saint Paul, MN. She is the Synod Executive for the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, following many years serving the PC(USA) on racial justice matters in mission development and support programs. Additionally, for the past 40 years, she has been involved in grass root and national justice advocacy on racial equity, Indian education, family empowerment and public policy. Elona has received many honors, including Minnesota American Indian Parent of the Year 1998, a national PW Women of Faith Award 2010, and a Peacemaker Award in recognition of Mahatma Gandhi’s 147nd birthday. Serving on the Saint Paul School Board for three terms, she was the first Native American elected to an urban school board in Minnesota as well as the first to be installed as a synod executive in the PC(USA). An Upward Bound student from Philadelphia and Occidental college graduate, Elona and her husband, Rev. David Stewart, have 4 children and 3 grandchildren.

Stephanie Martinez

Stephanie Quintana-Martinez was born and raised in Añasco, Puerto Rico. For several years, Stephanie worked on issues of immigration justice on the US-Mexico border as a community organizer and social/legal services provider. When Stephanie is not busy studying Divinity at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, she is organizing, promoting radical self-care, and reading poetry.