Eight years ago, a group of locals came together to tackle world issues through community-level involvement. That was the start of the Interfaith Peace Conference, an event that works in partnership with Christians, Jews, Muslims and other religious traditions to advance the work of reconciliation and peace.
“We were inspired by Dr. Wright Spears who thought that the church, of all places, would be the place to emphasize peacemaking because of the Bible quote ‘blessed are the peacemakers’,” said Frank Stith, who lives at Lake Junaluska. “He just felt that the church wasn’t speaking out strongly enough in trying to create peace. That was the impetus behind starting the conference.”
Since its inception, the Interfaith Peace Conference has covered Peace for the World’s Children, The Transformative Power of Nonviolence, and Economic Justice for All God’s People. It’s had noteworthy speakers such as Dr. Marian Wright Edelman, the founder of the Children’s Defense Fund and Leymah Gbowee, a Nobel Peace Prize Winner.
This year the Interfaith Peace Conference, Nov. 10-13 at Lake Junaluska, will focus on the Climate Crisis and Peace. The theme idea comes from a statement by Ban Yi-Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations, in which he claimed climate change was the biggest threat to peace.
Stith said he believes that bringing together different religious traditions can have an impact on this issue.
“We’ve asked each of the speakers to talk about climate change from their own faith perspectives and educate others on what their religion says about stewardship of the earth,” Stith said. “Several of the past conferences have included workshops where we try to give people tools to be used in their home communities. We hope they get inspired to keep working on these issues and being peacemakers.”
The conference will feature noteworthy speakers such as Dr. Norman Wirzba, Professor of Theology, Ecology, and Agrarian Studies at Duke Divinity School and Jacqueline Patterson, Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program.
All are invited to attend the conference. Attendees can expect lectures, workshops, interfaith worship and a concert by four-time Grammy Award winner, David Holt.
Meal and lodging packages are available at Lake Junaluska. For more information, visit lakejunaluska.com/peace or call 800-222-4930. Registration is open and there is a special discount for students.
Lake Junaluska Conference & Retreat Center is a place of Christian hospitality where lives are transformed through the renewal of soul, mind and body. To find out more about programs, conferences and other activities at Lake Junaluska, visit www.lakejunaluska.com or call 800-222-4930.