Bethany Theological Seminary to Hold Presidential Forum

Bethany Theological Seminary will host a Presidential Forum titled “Weaving Wisdom’s Tent: The Arts of Peace” on March 29-30. The event will be held at the seminary’s campus in Richmond, Ind. The forum will focus on spirituality, art, and peacemaking, and will include plenary sessions, workshops, small group reflection, presentation of student papers, and a concert by the Manchester College A Capella Choir.

Plenary presenters will be author and poet Marge Piercy, conflict resolution scholar and practitioner John Paul Lederach, and artist Douglas Kinsey.

In her plenary session on “Examining Peace and the Lack of It Through Poetry,” Piercy will read poems from several different books that deal with peace and war, personal attitudes, and spiritual disciplines. She is the author of 17 novels and is a teacher, lecturer, and performer.

In a plenary session on “The Poetics of Building Peace,” Lederach will present ideas on the art, soul, and poetics of peace building. He is professor of International Peacebuilding with the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He also works as a practitioner and scholar in conflict mediation, with extensive experience in North America, Latin America, Africa, and southeast and central Asia.

Kinsey will lead an exploration of the representation of justice in the visual arts in his plenary session titled “Art About Justice.” He is professor emeritus at the University of Notre Dame in the department of Art and Art History, and has had more than 70 solo exhibitions throughout the US and abroad.

The Manchester College A Capella Choir will perform Sunday evening. Manchester College was the first school in the US to offer a degree in Peace Studies, and much of the repertoire performed by the choir will carry this theme. Debra Lynn, associate professor of Music, is the director. James Hersch will be the featured guest artist.

Workshops include “Peace in Our Fragmented Lives and Culture: Approaching the Bible and its Interpretation as a Source of Shalom” led by Dawn Ottoni Wilhelm, Bethany’s associate professor of Preaching and Worship, and Steven Schweitzer, associate professor of Old Testament at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Goshen, Ind.; “Doing Conflict Well: Reflection, Practice, Art,” led by Celia Cook-Huffman, director of the Baker Peace Conflict Transformation Center at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., and Bob Gross, executive director of On Earth Peace; “What You See is What You Get,” led by David Radcliff, executive director of New Community Project, and Kay Guyer, a high school senior from Woodbury, Pa.; “Theopoetics,” led by Scott Holland, Bethany’s director of Peace Studies and Cross-Cultural Studies, and Bethany student Travis Poling; “Creation, Fall and Redemption in Wood,” a workshop on visual art led by Sally Stewart, retired supervisor of art for Johnstown, Pa., city schools; and “Music, Peace, and Praise,” led by the Bridgewater (Va.) College Student Worship Band.

The forum is made possible through gifts to special funds and endowments, including the John C. and Elizabeth E. Baker Peace Endowment, the Nancy Rosenberger Faus Music Education and Performance Endowment, the Founders Lecture Endowment, the Ora Huston Peace Lecture Endowment, and the Stephen I. Katonah Endowment for Faith and the Arts.

The forum is limited to 150 participants. The registration fee is $70, or $30 for college and seminary students. After March 1 the fee will increase to $80, or $40 for students. A continuing education credit of .7 will be available. Participants must make their own lodging arrangements. Go to http://www.bethanyseminary.edu/  for more information and online registration.

— Marcia Shetler is director of public relations for Bethany Theological Seminary.

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