Upcoming Eastern Mennonite Events Promote Peace

Posted: April 17, 2014

Daily News-Record

Fiza Afridi, 8, of Harrisonburg (left) and Reuben Mast, 10, of Broadway work together to make traditional Indian art June 15, 2011. (Photo by Nikki Fox / DN-R, File)
Jenna Altaii (right), 12, of Harrisonburg waters a planted golden star magnolia tree as Abdul Shakoor helps 8-year-old Danielle Hall (left) during the 2013 EMU Interfaith Peace Camp. (Photo by Nikki Fox / DN-R, File)

Eastern Mennonite University is known as a campus that promotes peace, and two annual events which further that mission are coming up soon.

The Summer Peacebuilding Institute, a staple of the season for EMU, is slated for four seven-day sessions taking place May 26-June 3. This will be the event’s 19th year.

Bill Goldberg, director of the institute, said spaces are still available for almost every session of the institute, which trains university students, community members and people around the country on peacemaking within interfaith engagement. Those interested in attending may take courses for master’s level academic credit or professional skills training.

Usually, the event draws about 200 people from more than 40 countries. Since the institute began, it has trained more than 2,600 people.   

New courses this year include “Media for Societal Transformation,” “The Impact of Social Issues on Restorative Justice” and “Mindfulness.”

For more information about the institute, call 432-4672, visit emu.edu/cjp/spi or email spi@emu.edu.

The Interfaith Peace Camp, hosted by the Center for Interfaith Engagement at EMU, is a much younger annual event that has quickly become a part of the university just the same.

The camp will overlap with the latter portion of the Summer Peacebuilding Institute and run June 9-13.

In fact, the children who attend the camp have lunch with an institute student one day and ask that person questions about peace building.

The camp started as a three-day event in 2008; that year, 22 children attended and visited three congregations, Beth El Synagogue, the Islamic Center of Shenandoah Valley mosque and Park View Mennonite Church.

Since then, the camp has grown into a weeklong interfaith adventure with roughly 40 children attending each year.

This year, 30 slots will be available for children of any or no faith background from 8 to 12 years of age.

Signup will begin May 1, according to event organizer Vesna Hart.

As soon as registration is open, organizers will post information on emu.edu/interfaith and send out registration forms to local churches and other faith communities.  

Contact Candace Sipos at 574-6275 or csipos@dnronline.com.