2014 Sunday Morning Plenary: Transforming Violence: Guide our Feet into the Path of Peace


…Together will seek a vision of peace in the community, peace among the peoples, peace in the marketplace, and peace with the earth.  We will discover a faith-based vision for national policies that “guide our feet into the path of peace” (Luke 1:79)…



For the video which accompanied Father Oleksa’s presentation, scroll down to his listing below.


Featured Resource

“An Ecumenical Call to Just Peace” (World Council of Churches, 2011)

This call is a concerted Christian voice addressed primarily to the worldwide Christian community. Inspired by the example of Jesus of Nazareth, it invites Christians to commit themselves to the Way of Just Peace. Aware that the promise of peace is a core value of all religions, it reaches out to all who seek peace according to their own religious traditions and commitments. The call is received by the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches and commended for study, reflection, collaboration and common action. It is issued in response to a WCC Assembly recommendation in Porto Alegre, Brazil, 2006, and builds on insights gained in the course of the ecumenical “Decade to Overcome Violence, 2001-2010: Churches Seeking Reconciliation and Peace.”

View the resource.



Rev. Dr. Angelique Walker-Smith, Executive Director, The Church Federation of Greater Indianapolis

angelique-walker-smith-smThe Rev. Dr. Angelique Walker-Smith is a television personality, journalist, preacher and speaker, author, prison chaplain, church executive-minister-pastor, wife and mother. Currently, Walker-Smith serves as the Executive Director/Minister of The Church Federation of Greater Indianapolis, one of the oldest Council of Churches in the world founded in 1912. She is the first African American and first woman to serve in that position. The Federation coordinates the work of denominations, congregations and religious organizations, building bridges between these faith groups that enable them to better serve the community. She is regularly called on to speak, teach and preach in this diverse setting of ministry locally, nationally and internationally. She has traveled and lived extensively globally promoting faith, mission, peace and reconciliation with faith partners, rural and urban communities as well as governments. She was recently re-elected to serve on the top governing body of the World Council of Churches (WCC) based in Geneva, Switzerland which is composed of Protestant, Orthodox and Catholic bodies such as the Vatican where she has also been received.  Previously she served as the Co-Chair of the WCC Decade to Overcome Violence in the USA and the International Reference Group of the DOV that planned the WCC International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in Jamaica. She currently serves as Vice Chair of Home Mission and Ecumenical Liaison with the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc. She has also been associated with Christian Churches Together, the American Bible Society,  National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association as a Vice Chair of the Indiana Billy Graham Crusade in 1999. Her book, Faith in the City, was released in 2012 with ten other scholars in the Centennial of The Church Federation of Greater Indianapolis. Her research projects, including her doctoral studies, have focused on women who are returning citizens from prison, Pan-African women and Christian unity and multi-faith relations relations with Christians. She is working on two books related to her research and work in these areas.

Keynote Panelists

Peace In the Community

Holly Maassarani, Prince George’s County Restorative Justice Program

Holly-Maasarani-smHolly currently coordinates a juvenile diversion program in Prince George’s County, Maryland utilizing the restorative dialogue process Community Conferencing. Former Director of the Youth Restorative Justice Initiative at the Conflict Resolution Center of Montgomery County, she also oversaw the Dialogue Circle program there which utilized peacemaking circles in the context of public schools.  She is a graduate of American University’s School of International Service, with a master’s degree in International Peace and Conflict Resolution. Her graduate studies focused on reconciliation, and community-based forms of justice.



Peace Among the Peoples

Alissa Wilson, Public Education and Advocacy Coordinator for Africa at the American Friends Service Committee

Alissa-Wilson-smAlissa S. Wilson is Public Education and Advocacy Coordinator for Africa at the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), where she brings the lessons learned from AFSC’s work in Africa to the Washington DC policy community and liaises with the Quaker United Nations Office. Before this position, she spent two years with the National Democratic Institute (NDI), in South Sudan, where she created and managed a community organizing program implemented in all 10 states. Alissa has also served as the AFSC Policy Associate for Peace and Security, an Obama organizing fellow, an accredited election observer in Nigeria, a Jane Addams–Andrew Carnegie Fellow at the Center on Philanthropy at IU and an AmeriCorps member.  Alissa is co-author of Practical Idealists: Changing the World and Getting Paid.  She holds a MALD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a B.A. in Political Science from Amherst College.


Peace In the Marketplace

Herman Kumara, Convener of the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (Sri Lanka) and Chair of Praja Abhilasha, a network partnered within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Joining Hands Initiative


Due to the request of the speaker, this presentation is not available on our website, though the speaker has welcomed those who are interested to contact him directly. Please reach out to us at EAD so we can put you in touch with him.

Herman Kumara, a Roman Catholic, is an internationally recognized organizer in the fisheries sector and a prominent voice for human rights in Sri Lanka. He is the convener of the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement, which works to protect fishing communities facing displacement by tourist hotels along Sri Lanka’s beachfront and fragile inland waterways. The organization also works on behalf of small artisanal fishers competing against growing industrial models of fishing and farming. Kumara’s life has been threatened for his human rights and environmental work. He is the chair of Praja Abhilasha, a network of non-government agencies formed after the 2004 tsunami, which escalated the presence of multi-national investors in the region. Praja Abhilasha is linked to the Joining Hands networks of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).


 Peace with the Earth

Rev. Dr. Michael James Oleksa, Pastor and Professor

View the video of Father Oleska and the Orthodox Bishop of the West blessing the waters of Alaska in efforts to resist mining efforts which would harm the natural fisheries of the native peoples in the state.

father-michael-oleksaThe Reverend Dr. Michael James Oleksa has spent the last 35 years in Alaska, serving as village priest, university professor, consultant on intercultural relations and communications,and authoring several books on Alaska Native cultures and history. A 1969 graduate of Georgetown University and of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Father Oleksa earned his doctoral degree in Presov, Slovakia, in 1988. His four-part PBS television series, Communicating Across Cultures, has been widely acclaimed. The recipient of numerous awards from local, state and federal agencies, as well as the Alaska Federation of Natives, Father Michael has taught on all three main campuses of the University of Alaska system and at Alaska Pacific University as well. He currently resides in Anchorage with his Yup’ik wife, Xenia, his daughter Anastasia and one of his three grandsons.



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