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Westminster Peacemakers in Residence to Focus on Nonviolence in the Classroom

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Posted on Tuesday, September 5, 2000

Nonviolence in the classroom and school will be the focus of the 2000 Peacemakers in Residence at Westminster College. In addition to on-campus events, the peacemaking experts will take their message into the community through a series of workshops.

Dr. James McGinnis and Kathleen McGinnis are the founders of the Institute for Peace and Justice in St. Louis and the international co-coordinators of the Parenting for Peace and Justice Network. For 30 years they have developed curriculum resources and done workshops for families, educators, and others who work with children and families. More recently they have developed resources on the Family and School/Classroom Pledges of Nonviolence.

Dr. McGinnis will present the keynote address for the week's event on Sunday, Sept. 17, at 7 p.m. in Westminster's Wallace Memorial Chapel. His address, "If Only Today You Knew the Things That Make for Peace," will also be the focus for a public forum on Monday, Sept. 18, at 11:40 a.m. in the College Chapel. The keynote address and forum are free and open to the public.

On Wednesday, the McGinnises will conduct a workshop on non-violence in the classroom and the school for Westminster students majoring in education and speak at Faculty Forum.

Dr. McGinnis will appear as "Francis the Clown" promoting the pledge of nonviolence in the classroom and in the school at middle and elementary schools throughout Lawrence County Sept. 18-21.

The McGinnises will present workshops on nurturing children in a world of violence. Workshops are slated for 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 19 at St. Vitus School in New Castle; Wednesday, Sept. 20 at Hartman School in Ellwood City; and Thursday, Sept. 21, at New Wilmington Elementary School.

Kathleen McGinnis will discuss "The Agencies of the Council on Community Services as Circles of Hope" at the COCS luncheon on Thursday, Sept. 21, at 11:30 a.m.

Sunday through Thursday's events are sponsored by the Advisory Council of the Lawrence County Children's Commission, with major funding provided by The Caroline Knox Memorial Trust Fund. Co-sponsors include The Peace Center at Westminster College, The Children's Advocacy Center of Lawrence County, and Lawrence County Cares.

The week's events conclude on Friday with workshops for professionals and paraprofessionals working with children and their families from 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. at Northminster Presbyterian Church, Wilmington Road, New Castle. The workshops are sponsored by the Lawrence County Cooperative Extension of Penn State University.

For more information about off-campus events, contact Sue Ascione at (724) 658-4688.

The Peace Center at Westminster College, guided by an advisory council of College and community members, is directed by Dr. Robert VanDale, emeritus professor of religion.

The Peace Center seeks to express in the context of higher education the vision brought to religious communities through the Peacemaking Program of the Presbyterian Church (USA). The peacemaking vision of wholeness and well-being, of reconciliation and overcoming of barriers, embraces all dimensions of human existence - within and between individuals, groups and nations; and in human relations with the realms of nature and the divine.

Related to the Peace Center is the Peace Studies Program, coordinated by Dr. David C. Twining, associate professor of history. The program allows students to pursue either a concentration or minor in peace studies in conjunction with the College's major programs.

Cooperative planning between the various peacemaking efforts at Westminster will continue to bring to campus acclaimed peacemakers and scholars of peacemaking, thus providing even more opportunities for students, faculty, and the larger community to discover the issues in conflict resolution and peacemaking around the globe, according to VanDale.

Contact Dr. VanDale at (724) 946-7154 for more information on the Peace Center, and Dr. Twining at (724) 946-7249 for more information on Westminster's Peace Studies program.