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Presbyterian Peace Fellowship announces its new executive director

The Rev. Dr. Laurie Lyter Bright is an author, organizer and PC(USA) pastor

by Presbyterian Peace Fellowship | Special to Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Dr. Laurie Lyter Bright

After a summer of interviews, discernment, and prayer, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship introduces the Rev. Dr. Laurie Lyter Bright as its new executive director. She began her new duties on Oct. 23.

“I’m elated to be moving deeper into God’s calling by joining Presbyterian Peace Fellowship as executive director,” she said. “The need for peacemakers in the world is as urgent now as it has ever been, and too many of our communities are left feeling helpless in the face of the enormity of the suffering happening around the world. Our prayers are needed for our neighbors in Gaza, our incarcerated siblings, and all of Creation as it bears the weight of violence in many forms.”

“I am convinced that our prayers must be accompanied by meaningful, substantive action,” she said. “PPF has a long and powerful history of moving our denomination toward justice and peacebuilding, and I am honored to be joining in that story.”

According to a PPF news release, the new executive director arrives with incredible insight, hope, and enthusiasm for the work at hand. Those values are especially relevant in this moment, as war continues in Ukraine and the threat of more violence in Gaza looms over the people there. Resisting violence that manifests in multiple forms, on both global and local levels, requires the ability to identify connections between multifaceted sources and to imagine equally creative responses that interrupt cycles of violence. Lyter Bright’s commitment to that creative justice work, fueled by her deep joy and fierce hope for a peaceful world, will empower PPF to continue being a countercultural voice for peace in a militarized world, and deepen the organization’s work of creating a world in which war is waged no more.

Lyter Bright is an author, organizer, and Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) pastor in Wisconsin, where she serves as associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church, Neenah. She brings a background in international justice work, with professional work taking her to the United Kingdom, India, Palestine, Israel, and across the United States. She’s a perpetual student, mom of two small children, wife to Jesse, and an amateur farmer. Her flock has expanded to 11 chickens, two goats (Laverne and Shirley), and a dog (Angus MacDonald, Boy Detective), with a promise to add only one new species per year.

Lyter Bright’s writing has been published in curricula, academic journals, and books, and her dissertation (“The Body and the Word: The Intersection of Religion and Rape Culture”) was completed in 2021 for her PhD in education from Colorado State University. She collects books, stamps in her passport and friends she meets on airplanes and in other countries.

Her work has focused on the bridging of justice needs in the world with the daily life of faith communities. This has taken the form of writing for the Fellowship of Reconciliation on countering white Christian nationalism, executive directing the peacebuilding efforts of Pilgrims of Ibillin, writing an essay for curriculum on what it means to “Do Justice” for the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation’s “Follow Me” series, community organizing around transformational justice, and speaking nationally on gender equity and gender-based violence. She is passionate about people and empowering churches to be leaders in their communities as they seek to serve and love those within their communities and their neighbors around the world.

PPF thanks its interim executive director, the Rev. David Ensign, for his 18 months serving the organization. He will assist in the transition and end his tenure with PPF’s gratitude. “I am thrilled that our search committee has found such an excellent match for our organization,” Ensign said. “PPF’s work will continue on under Laurie’s leadership, continuing a proud 80-year tradition of peacemaking.”

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