Convocation of Peacemakers


Watch the Convocation Live Online!

We will be streaming live video from the 2012 Convocation of Peacemakers during the following sessions:
(all times are in Eastern Time Zone)

Thursday, April 26, 2012 7:00-7:30pm Welcome & Overview--Rick Ufford-Chase
Friday, April 27, 2012 9:00-10:30am Bible Study--Margaret Aymer
Saturday, April 28, 2012 9:00-11:00am Middle East--Rifat Kassis, Daoud Nassar, and Mark Braverman
Saturday, April 28, 2012 7:00-9:00pm Round Table Panel Discussion--What Will a Peace Church Look Like?




Join peacemakers from across the country to fellowship, plan, and organize:

  • The PC(USA)’s discernment to become a Peace Church
  • Israel/Palestine
  • General Assembly Advocacy
  • Antiracism
  • Preventing Gun Violence
  • Colombia Accompaniment and Advocacy
Scholarships Available


Tentative Schedule

5:00p - Arrival and Check-In
7:00p - Welcome
7:30p - Opening Worship
9:00p - Small groups

9:00a - Bible Study
11:00a - Plenary: Anti-Racism
2:00p - Plenary: Anti-Racism
4:00p - Workshops

Gun Violence Prevention
Peace Church

7:00p - Open Space #1
9:00p - Refreshments and Community Time

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

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.



Guest Presenters:

  • 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
To inquire about a scholarship, please email us at

If you would like to contribute to the scholarship fund to help people attend this event, please click here.



Stony Point Center, Stony Point, NY

Information on traveling to Stony Point Center is available on their website.

Please Note: Shuttle service from Newark International Airport is considerably less expensive than from other airports in the area. Please consider this when making your travel decisions. Click here for information on shuttle rates




Guest Presenters

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 Kassis
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
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


Daoud Nassar
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.



"Beta" is a term used in software development to indicate that the software is still in testing—it's not a final release, and not all questions have been answered. We chose this term to indicate the status of the PC(USA)'s discernment in embracing nonviolence as church policy— what will it look like for the PC(USA) to become a peace church? What questions are yet to be answered? This event aims to be instrumental in helping the PC(USA) ask itself those questions and others. To learn more about this "Peace Church" conversation, click here to read the overture that started it all.


Open Space?
Open Space Technology is a way to have a gathering in which the agenda is controlled by the participants. This helps us make sure that we talk about what we need to talk about and accomplish the work we need to accomplish, even if it emerges as part of the gathering. We find that this method allows us more flexibility to work creatively and effectively together, with each one contributing to the areas of our work where they have the most energy or interest. If you've never used Open Space before, don't worry–we'll take time to explain it.


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Have you seen the video from last year's Convocation of Peacemakers?


Click here for pictures and more from the 2011 Convocation