Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bethany Seminary holds Presidential Forum in March.

Bethany Theological Seminary will host a Presidential Forum titled "Weaving Wisdom's Tent: The Arts of Peace" on March 29-30 at the seminary 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 a session on "Examining Peace and the Lack of It Through Poetry," Piercy will read poems 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 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. Kinsey will lead an exploration of the representation of justice in the visual arts in a session on "Art About Justice." He is professor emeritus at the University of Notre Dame in the department of Art and Art History.

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.

A variety of workshops will address subjects such as "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.; and "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.

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 event is limited to 150 participants. The registration fee is $70, or $30 for students. After March 1 the fee will increase to $80, or $40 for students. A continuing education credit of .7 is available. Participants make their own lodging arrangements. Go to for online registration.

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

Source: 2/12/2009 Newsline Extra

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