THURSDAY, APRIL 26
5:00p - Arrival and Check-In
7:00p - Welcome
7:30p - Opening Worship
9:00p - Small groups
FRIDAY, APRIL 27
9:00a - Bible Study
11:00a - Plenary: Anti-Racism
2:00p - Plenary: Anti-Racism
4:00p - Workshops
Gun Violence Prevention
7:00p - Open Space #1
9:00p - Refreshments and Community Time
SATURDAY, APRIL 28
9:00a - Plenary – Israel/Palestine
11:30a - Open Space #2
2:00p - Open Space #3 – Action Items
4:00p - Bible Study
7:00p - Plenary: Round Table w/Speakers
9:00p - Refreshments and Community Time
SUNDAY, APRIL 29
9:00a - Plenary - Bible Study
10:30a - Final Plenary – Action Items
11:00a - Closing Worship
1:00p - Departure
This is not a normal conference, but a working meeting for peacemakers, organizers, and activists from across the church to plan together for effective advocacy and action.
- Margaret Aymer (Bible Study)
- Jessica Vazquez-Torres (Antiracism)
- Rifat Kassis
- Mark Braverman
(full bios below)
Standard Registration is $320. This includes meals and lodging for 3 nights.
* Scholarships are available
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The Rev. Dr. Margaret Aymer
Rev. Dr. Margaret Aymer is Associate Professor of New Testament and Chair of Biblical Studies at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, GA. She is also an ordained minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church, USA, serving within the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta. Dr. Aymer is the author of First Pure, Then Peaceable: Frederick Douglass, Darkness and the Epistle of James, various academic and liturgical articles and resources and the 2011-12 Horizons Bible Study, Confessing the Beatitudes. Dr. Aymer is happily married to Dr. Laurent M. R. G. Oget of France, a software engineer.
The Rev. Jessica Vazquez Torres
Jessica Vazquez Torres is an ordained minister with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). From 1999 until the Spring of 2006 she served as Staff in the Office of the General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). From 2006 to 2008, Jessica served as National Religious Outreach Coordinator with Interfaith Worker Justice and from 2008 until the summer of 2010, she served as Director of Master Level Recruitment and Admissions at McCormick Theological Seminary. Currently, Jessica is working on her Masters of Theological Studies at Chandler School of Theology in Emory University and works part-time as a consultant and trainer for Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training. A “1.5 generation Queer Latina of Puerto Rican descent,” she is committed to understanding the ways in which racialization prevents collaboration and solidarity among people of color communities. She works to nurture revolutionary relationships among socially marginalized groups. When asked why she dedicates her ministry to the transformation of social institutions in particularly the church she replies: “So that my nieces can experience a world where their identity as young Latina women of Puerto Rican and Mexican descent is fully affirmed and nurtured.” Rev. Vazquez Torres holds a BA on Criminal Justice from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL and a Masters of Divinity from Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, IN.
Rifat Odeh Kassis founded the first Palestinian independent Child Rights’ NGO in 1991—a national section of the Geneva-based global child rights’ movement, Defence for Children International (DCI). Since 2005 he has been the President of the DCI movement at the global level and since November 2008, the General Director of the Palestinian section.
In 1995, he co-founded the Alternative Tourism Group (ATG). Later in 1996 he started working for some ecumenical donor agencies representing them in Central Asia where he lived and worked for about 5 years.
During his term as Executive Director of the East Jerusalem YMCA (2000-2004), he initiated and spearheaded the YMCA/YWCA Joint Advocacy Initiative, from which the Olive Tree Campaign was launched. In January 2005, he worked in Geneva as the Manager of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). From September 2007 till March 2009 he was the WCC General Secretary Special Advisor on the Middle East.
He was the driving force and one of the co-authors of Kairos Palestine document and has been the General Coordinator of Kairos Palestine Group since its inception in 2009.
He is the author of three books: In 2006 he published his first book with the title Palestine, A Bleeding Wound in the World’s Conscience (2006); with Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, Palestinian Christians: Facts, Figures and Trends (2008); and Kairos for Palestine (2011).
Mark Braverman is a Jewish American with deep family roots in the Holy Land. Mark was reared in the Jewish tradition, studying Bible, Hebrew literature, and Jewish history. Trained in clinical psychology and crisis management, Mark worked with individuals and organizations undergoing traumatic stress. Traveling to Israel/Palestine in 2006 he was transformed by witnessing the occupation of Palestine and by encounters with peace activists and civil society leaders from the Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities. He now devotes himself full-time to writing, speaking and action related to a just peace in Israel/Palestine. In his work Mark focuses on the role of religious beliefs and theology in the current discourse and the function of interfaith relations in the current search for a resolution of the conflict. Mark serves on the advisory board of Friends of Sabeel North America and on the Board of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions-USA. He is a cofounder of Friends of Tent of Nations North America, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting Palestinian land rights in historic Palestine. Mark consults to and writes for the Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church USA and has been appointed consultant for Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding. He is a charter member of American Jews for a Just Peace. He lectures internationally and currently serves as the Coordinator of Kairos USA.
Mark is the author of Fatal Embrace: Christians, Jews, and the Search for Peace in the Holy Land. His writings, blog, and sermons can be found at www.markbraverman.org.
Daoud Nassar, a Palestinian Christian farmer, is Director of the Tent of Nations Project on his family farm, 6 kilometers from Bethlehem. His one hundred acre farm is surrounded on three sides by Israeli Settlements, and below by the Palestinian village of Nehalin. Since 1991, the family has managed to maintain its legal claim to the land they have owned since 1916. In spite of having been cut off from electricity and water, he has managed to offer his program to Christians, Muslims and Israelis in the area as a means of increasing understanding of one another’s narratives. He will be sharing his family’s story, as well as his vision of an Education Center where people can continue to build bridges.