September 8, 2009
LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — Over 320 Hebrew, Christian, and Islamic leaders will gather at the second annual Lake Junaluska Peace Conference September 20-22 for a time of learning about one another’s faith traditions, examining what each brings to the search for peace, celebrating our common heritage, and exploring ways we can be more effective “Peace Builders”in our local communities.
Jimmy L. Carr, Lake Junaluska’s Executive Director, said the Peace Conference is an event allpersons should attend.
“Lake Junaluska is delighted to once again provide the site and staff support for the Lake Junaluska Peace Conference. We appreciate so much the Peace Committee’s work in offering such a timely conference. Their efforts allow Lake Junaluska to serve the church and the community by providing challenging speakers and information to assist persons in becoming the peace makers that Christ calls us to be,” Carr said.
This highly anticipated event features Archbishop Elias Chacour, Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed, Rabbi Mordechai Liebling and Dr. Lisa Schirch, each of whom have diverse religious backgrounds that will help facilitate dialogues between the three Abrahamic Faiths. As a result of a recent Automobile accident, Rabbi Waskow, who was scheduled to speak at this year’s conference, had to cancel his appearance. We are fortunate and excited that we have been able to secure Rabbi Mordechai Liebling.
Rabbi Liebling is a member of the Board of the Shalom Center, founded by Rabbi Waskow. He is also a faculty member of the Reconstructionist Rabinical College. Archbishop Chacour has long been a strong voice for peace and reconciliation in Palestine and Israel and has worked with all factions and faiths. Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed, the National Director of Interfaith and Community Alliances for the Islamic Society of North America, has been actively fostering understanding among the world’s religions and has participated in interfaith dialogues. Dr. Lisa Schirch, professor of peace-building at Eastern Mennonite University, also serves as executive director of the 3D Security Initiative.
Dr. Syeed hopes that at the conference’s conclusion, participants will look for positive aspects of all religions. “People should go with a sense of mission that those of us who are believers have a joint responsibility of working for God’s creation. We want to make sure that intentionally or unintentionally, we don’t harm anyone, and we continue to contribute towards the betterment of God’s creation. This will create a tremendous kind of feeling that we are at peace with our own selves, with our neighborhood, community, and the whole of mankind.”
Similarly, Dr. Schirch hopes that people leave the conference with a sense of hope for what is possible when a small group of people decide they want to contribute to peacebuilding. “Muslims, Christians, and Jews have a long history of living side by side in peace. In places where there is conflict, there are people of faith reaching out across the lines of conflict to working for peace. This conference is an opportunity to hear inspirational stories of what people around the world are doing, so that we can learn to be better peacebuilders in our own home communities,” said Dr. Schirch.
Speakers from each faith will describe what their scriptures and practices have to bring to the Table of Peace. Workshops will teach skills in being Peace Builders. Through prayers, celebrations, and the arts, participants will experience what each contributes to the search for peace.
“This year's Peace Conference centers on an issue that has universal implications. There is much agreement that we will not have world-wide peace until the major religions understand each other better and develop genuine respect for one other. As we focus this year on the three Abrahamic Faiths, we hope a significant number of persons from each faith group will be here. Come expecting to be challenged by the presenters. Come with an open mind and an eagerness to enter into creative dialogue with persons of other faiths,” Garland Young, Chair of the Peace Conference Planning Committee, said.
Persons of all faiths are encouraged to attend this event. Please visit
www.lakejunaluska.com/peace.aspx for more information or to register.