Serve Well Blog

Entries tagged 'Peace & Reconciliation'

1.30.15

Nominate a Krista Colleague

The Krista Foundation | Krista Foundation Press, Developing Nations, Environmental Projects, Urban America, Law, Microenterprise, Poverty: Urban US & International, Preparing To Serve, Arts & Culture, Business, Community, Economic Justice, Education, Environment, Faith/Theological Exploration, Global Citizenship, Healthcare, Homelessness, Intercultural Development, Peace & Reconciliation, Poverty: Urban US & International, Preparing To Serve

The Krista Colleague Cohort Program is the heart of the Krista Foundation. Nominated by community leaders, 17 young adult Krista Colleagues are selected each year. Colleagues are committed to a sustained period of voluntary or vocational service of at least nine months and motivated to serve by their Christian faith. The Foundation community journeys alongside Colleagues before, during and after service, empowering them to transform service experience into lives of service leadership.

Acceptance as a Colleague includes a $1,000 Service & Leadership Grant to be used at the intersection of vocational interests and commitment to serve. The Foundation pays for four years of the Krista Foundation annual Service Leadership conference and debriefing retreat. Additionally, each Colleague commits to serving as a peer mentor with future Krista Colleagues, developing global citizenship through leadership in retreats and conferences. 

Nominations are due by March 20th, so nominate today!

Click here for nomination criteria or to complete the online nomination forms!

Questions? Please contact Program Director, Stacy Kitahata

Please LIKE, POST, and SHARE this link with any potential nominators.

-The Krista Foundation

7.14.14

Between Opportunity and Risk (ItÂ’s still all Good)
by 2014 Krista Colleague Janjay Innis

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press, Urban America, Social Work, Community, Education, Peace & Reconciliation

Today's ServeWell post is by 2014 Krista Colleague, Janjay Innis. As a child in Liberia, West Africa, Janjay lived in a community that even in its imperfections, she says, "mirrored the kingdom of God as I envision it." In this post she reflects on the June 22nd "Service in Perspective" event which explored the recent conference theme "Going Public: Complex Faith within a Complex World." Her insights are richly informed by years of bridging cultures, working in conflict transformation, a MA in Divinity from Boston University and most recently as a Social Justice Advocate at her volunteer service placement with Tacoma Community House. Thank you for sharing Janjay!

Between Opportunity and Risk (It's still all Good)

Values ground us. They orient us into the world in ways that are uniquely ours and when they are rooted equally in the love of self and neighbor, they help us embody and become love. At this intersection, where our love of self ( the realization that we are exceptionally and wonderfully made in the image of God) begins to inform our love of neighbor ( the realization that everyone else is also exceptionally and wonderfully made in the image of God) is where the Krista Colleague Program has intentionally positioned itself as a resource to assist young adults as they maneuver through the tensions that arise on their journey to authentically accepting and living the truth that we all have a common humanity and that irrespective of the things that stratify us, all people want to be loved, respected and have their personhood affirmed. I am grateful that the Krista Foundation not only states its intention to help its Colleagues process the happenings along this journey, but creates spaces for that processing to take place.

Based on the Krista Foundation value of "mentoring community," defined as "investing in future leaders by recognizing and leveraging peer and intergenerational wisdom and experience," colleagues gathered on June 22nd to discuss what about the 2014 Krista Conference theme, " Going Public: A Complex Faith in a Complex World," excited us and what about the theme challenged us. As Colleagues old and new and Krista Foundation staff shared their thoughts, the resounding conclusion I gathered from this conversation was that we all desired two things: to be our authentic selves when talking about our faith whether we were unwavering, questioning or uncertain about our faith and to actively make room for and be in conversation with those who think and believe differently than we do.

In my own reflection, I expressed to the group that I saw the theme as an opportunity to reclaim and redefine my faith tradition (Christianity) which for valid reasons has been pushed to the sidelines as it has been interpreted in a plurality of ways that have done more damage than good. I believe the dominant voices who have spoken on behalf of Christianity have distorted its true value and I want to be part of a new cohort of leaders who will reintroduce Christianity as a tradition rooted in love. This age-old tradition, which has its foundation in Judaism, is the story of a people who attributed all of their triumphs to an invisible, but omnipresent God and made a bold declaration that this God was also with them, accompanied them and held them in their most trying times. For me, what makes the story of Jesus (a particular interpretation of the Hebrew people's story) so compelling is that Christians believe Jesus was God incarnate (in the flesh) and walked on the earth just to be in solidarity with us in joy and in pain. That is love and it will give my life the utmost meaning to be part of telling this story in the face of injustice and oppression that God is present and because of this divine presence, we can join in loving the world into a new reality where we aren't merely tolerating difference, but building and crossing bridges amidst difference.

My challenge is to live into and audaciously act on this value, especially in spaces where my opinion may not be popular and might even be scrutinized as overly sensational. I believe my opinions about the relevancy of faith in our world to be as much intellectual as they are emotional, but I admit that there have been many times that I have been silent, unable to find the words or speak in the midst of my peers. Perhaps I've made a premature assumption that my peers don't want to hear about faith (especially as it's expressed in mainline traditions) because of the judgment, exclusion and stifling ways its attempted and sometimes succeeded in policing people's lives, but I'll never know if they are truly disengaged until I engage. I'm at the juncture of opportunity and risk and I am certain that it is the right place to be. For this reason, I vow to bring faith into the conversation whenever I see fit -- faith that offers models of hope, peace, reconciliation and community. I'm sure there will be times I'll fall flat on my face, but I even more certain that there will be times that my opinions will be a refreshing approach that will illuminate conversations and real life situations. In all of it, I trust that God will give me lots of grace to stay in the conversation.




4.29.11

Kirk Harris pursues Political Science Ph.D.

Destiny Williams | Colleague Press, Developing Nations, Faith/Theological Exploration, Global Citizenship, Integrating Service As A Way Of Life, Peace & Reconciliation, Transitions Home & Beyond

 

In a small office on the campus of Indiana University, Kirk Harris stares out a small window. This is where he spends most of his time these days. He finds his life, starting a Ph.D. in Political Science, feels quiet--a "night and day" difference from the sounds and smells of the past five years. In 2006 Kirk sat at a table surrounded by the passionate voices of tribal and community leaders who shared stories of hardship and betrayal amidst a violent ethnic and religious conflict. Despite deep differences, they were gathered on common ground, to nurture peace and rebuild their countries. Kirk, a Krista Colleague who served in Kenya as a Young Adult Volunteer with the Presbyterian Church, served with an organization that facilitated Muslim-Christian dialogue between these competing ethnic and religious groups. He remembers and cherishes the friendship and solidarity of "being welcomed by people who are very different from me, of being drawn outside of myself in pursuit of a common calling."

At that time, he wrote to the KF: "By participating in these discussions I am now able to analyze violence and peace more comprehensively, taking into account country-specific obstacles to the resolution of conflicts as well as cultural and theological nuances that affect how they unfold." But the depth of complexity left him longing for an even deeper understanding.

To hone his thinking, Kirk wrote an article on reconciliation in The Global Citizen journal. He seized an opportunity at the Mennonite Central Committee United Nations Liaison Office in New York, focusing on Congo and Sudan. After two years, Kirk moved to Khartoum to work for the Sudan Council of Churches in on behalf of MCC. In each position, Kirk was humbled by the issues the communities were facing. In his search of a better framework, Kirk applied to a Ph.D. program.

Graduate school has brought new opportunities and challenges for Kirk, whose goal is to reinvest his degree in service of the people he served in Africa. "I am continually reminded of what I was doing a year ago-working with Sudanese churches who are trying to heal their country in the wake of conflict and stave off new violence." As he seeks to integrate his experiences, cultivate community, and steward his education, Kirk has come to see that "balancing the tension of the mind and heart will take time, and that God's grace, which has sustained me through service, will also sustain me in learning." He reminds himself: "Only 5 and ¼ years to go."

Know someone who has wrestled with the culture shock of transitioning from service to grad school? Share comments or encouragements below.

10.24.10

A Different Kind of Intercultural Dialogue

Destiny Williams | Service In The News, Developing Nations, Community, Intercultural Development, Community, Peace & Reconciliation

Teresa Rake - Krista ColleagueTeresa Rake ('05) has developed a lifetime of insight on the beauty and tensions of intercultural communication as the biracial daughter of a Bolivian mother and Caucasian American father. After graduating from Biola University, she moved into an intentional community in Seattle's richly diverse White Center neighborhood and discovered a church dedicated to serving the neighborhood. Then she volunteered for a year in Brazil through the Mennonite Central Committee, training families to address urgent needs related to water resources. Now back in Seattle, she continues her relationships in White Center as an elder in the local church and invests in the lives of their high school youth group.

In White Center, Teresa noticed that the kids, having grown up among varied minority and immigrant communities, engaged in honest conversatoins about race and shared experiences without usually offending each other. In contrast, she recently worked for an organization in a less diverse part of town and found that, despite the best of intentions, there were clear, awkward communication gaps resulting in stereotypes and misperceptions of the population that the organization desired to serve. She wondered: "How do we create space to talk about race and acknowledge our privilege without getting defensive?" Amid her growing desire to understand these gaps, Teresa participated in a Krista Foundation sponsored facilitator training for an intercultural communication tool called Photo Language, which helps participants both listen to others and share about their own experience of tender subjects such as race and privilege.

Read more about Teresa on her bio page.

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