Each year, the Center for Peace and Justice at George Fox University presents a theme for students, centered around one event in the fall and one in the spring.
The center kicked off "Peace: Personal & Global" with its annual Justice Conference this past fall, covering the theoretical, theological and historical aspects of this year's theme.
Following tradition, George Fox and the Center for Peace and Justice will engage the practical side of things with its annual spring event, the John Woolman Peacemaking Forum, which will be held on campus March 20-21.
"Ultimately, the mission of the Woolman Forum is to put out this idea about what are our Quaker roots and how then do we live those out in the world today," said Rebecca Hernandez, director of the Center for Peace and Justice.
The event will begin with a community lecture featuring guest speaker Michelle Loyd-Paige from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in Room 102 of the Edwards-Holman Science Center.
In her lecture, "Peacemaking: More than Good Intentions," Loyd-Paige will cover the many forms of peacemaking and stress that while it may be hard and costly work, when done in conjunction with one's neighbors, it can be God's work.
Loyd-Paige is the executive associate to the president for diversity and inclusion and a sociology professor at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. She also serves as associate pastor at Angel Community Church in nearby Muskegon.
She was invited to speak at the forum by Hernandez, who also serves as associate vice president for intercultural engagement and faculty development at George Fox, after they worked together on the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities' Commission for Diversity and Inclusion. Hernandez said she respects Loyd-Paige and felt she would be a perfect fit for the forum.
"She's a sociologist by training and also a pastor, so it was the idea of looking at her as an academic but also in her practice," Hernandez said. "She's an example of someone who is doing both."
Loyd-Paige, who won the Floyd Skinner Justice Award in 2015, will also address students at George Fox's chapel session March 21, presenting "A Bigger Hospitality."
With the forum's emphasis on practical application, Hernandez has partnered with GFU's IDEA Center to host a job and internship fair to connect students with peace-centered nonprofit organizations.
"So you have this intention and you understand theologically what God is calling us to do, to live in peace and also do peace through our actions, but how do you do it?" Hernandez said. "It's more than intentions. It's doing something, but we can also make it our livelihood because there are jobs where you can work out your sense of peace through a calling."
Among those in attendance will be the Mennonite Mission Network, Quaker Voluntary Service, the Portland Leadership Foundation, Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends, Global Outreach, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Evangelical Friends Mission, Medical Teams International, Catholic Charities and GFU's 2016-2017 Peace Scholars.
Hernandez noted that many of the opportunities available through visiting organizations will be short-term, during the summer, but some also offer year-long training programs that will prepare participants for service around the world.
"We just want to expose students to the opportunities to see what kind of places they can practice peace in their vocation," Hernandez said. "But also if they're looking for summer internships or year-long or gap-year practices they can do that, too."