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The Peace to the City Network grew out of a campaign of the same name that began in August 1997 and culminated in December 1998. The network was active until 2002; its members - churches, peace and justice organizations, faith communities and civil society movements - continue to work within the framework of the Decade to Overcome Violence (2001-2010).

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Summary of the Four Day Workshop
Tuesday, November 14th
The Spiritual Inward Journey

9:00 Arrival and Registration

9:20 Various Dignitaries: Opening Ceremony and Welcome to Boston

Jeffrey Brown welcomes the group to Boston, opening with a word of prayer. This week is a spiritual journey, of community, of restoration. The first day of the conference will be about faith and our collaboration. Salpy Eskidjian then speaks of the Decade to Overcome Violence and Peace to the City Campaign, a bottom-up approach with church commitment, as well as the need to focus on urban violence amongst youth and build upon international synergies. Community partnering is crucial to overcoming violence; using a strategy that centers on justice is one way. Jeffrey Brown introduces Reverend Jim Wallis, and the participants also introduce themselves to each other.

10:00 Jim Wallis, Plenary Speech: Call To Renewal author of The Soul of Politics and Faith Work

I have been involved with the Ten Point Coalition from the beginning. It has now become an international model for a new vision that must be created. Without a vision, the people perish, and faith-based organizations are the key. How do we create vision?

Some lessons from their approach:

  • It's important to listen to those closest to the problem.
  • If the church won't go into the streets, the streets will come into the church.
  • Success is a choir-act that harmonizes on the melody of community resurrection.
  • No sector can solve the issues of poverty and entrenchment alone; everyone does their share, and everyone does what they do best
  • The test of partnership is not photo ops at the White House; you must put the people that we live and work with in the national agenda and we must talk about concrete goals
  • Public policy should be valued on how it helps us rebuild our webs

The faith community can be a catalyst, conveyers, and interrogators, and not mere service providers.
Public policies should focus on rebuilding our community web with faith as a catalyst. Three faith movements are civil rights movement, religious right, and faith-based coalitions. You must change a country by changing the direction of the wind. Hope is believing in spirit of the evidence, then watching the evidence change.

Faith is standing on the first day and believing it can be different. Hope is believing in spite of the evidence, and then watching the evidence change. In closing: "faith is hoping in spite of the evidence and is believing in things not seen." Faith propels hope, which propels action, and then change. There is a vision in faith that will only become reality if we hope in spite of the evidence.

10:30 Coffee Break

10:45 Chris Winship, Chair of Sociology at Harvard

Interpretation of How Ten Point Coalition Attributed to Boston's Success. Development of a partnership between the police and ministers has been crucial. Racial politics in Boston have changed due to the partnership. Police and ministers work together to resolve issues constructively. Racial politics have changed - We now have a single narrative. The partnership has gone from division to collaboration. The collaboration works because they realized that they had common goals. They both wanted to keep the next child from getting killed. The coalition has become the intermediary institution.

Inner cities have a conundrum. The residents want safe streets, however they don't want their children in jail. A key thing that the Coalition has done is to be an intermediary in these types of situations. The Ten Point Coalition has become an interesting partnership, because crime is dealt with differently. It also offers an alternative model for Boston to handle its racial politics.

11:40 Training Participants: Sharing of Stories/Inward Journey

Brown: The exploration from this point on will be much more interactive. In the next couple of days, we will be going in police cars around neighborhoods and into schools. We also want to make time to tell our individual stories. Sharing and interacting is probably some of the most important work we will be doing.
Where do you see your hurdles? Where have you experienced victory? Where do you see hope? We hear from the delegates from South Africa, Sierra Leone, and Rio de Janeiro.

12:15 Lunch

1:15 Michael J. Galvin, Chief of Basic Services, Property Management Department, City of Boston

If each of us does a little, we can accomplish a lot, as evidenced by Boston's success. If the city listens and the community works together, we will form a great team. Our police department has a model program. We ask that the citizens, business community, and clergy help in making sure that the quality of life is good for all citizens.

1:40 Reba Danastorg, Exec. Dir. Boston Ten Point Overview

I am the Executive Director of the Ten Point Coalition. I organize the clergy to come together. Our churches have tremendous potential. We have a 12-block radius in the city of Boston in which there are 19 Churches, of which six have a membership of 500 people. This equals a tremendous amount of people to help resolve crime issues. Our history is that the churches only invested in the church, not in the community. Gang members lost respect for the churches, and the clergy realized that they needed to get involved in the community, which they did with the 1000-Minute Program. The clergy identifies children who are at risk and at need; they don't judge by what they see. Operation Second Chance gives youth role models by pairing them with corporations, to give them mentors in the job sector. We must try to understand our children in order to shape their behavior. We meet children where they are. We need to train our churches to get involved because they don't necessarily know how. We are developing awareness and fighting domestic violence. We are teaching churches how to identify when there are problems and to work with the community. Our goal is to help churches come further out of the box.

2:00 TPC Ministers Roundtable I: Inward Journey: "How and Why We Got Started", with Reverend Ray Hammond, Reverend Gilbert Thompson, and Reverend Gloria Hammond

What we are dealing with is really a global problem. In Boston, we realized that if we wanted the youth to change, they were going to need to see other role models in practice. We need the power that agreement and unity, through spirituality, brings; the real weapons of our warfare are not ones of the flesh but are ones of the spirit. We needed to solve issues, such as the Morningstar incident, from a social and spiritual standpoint. It was the role of our churches to go out and meet the youth where they were, and that is what the Ten Point Coalition is all about - we are putting our feet to the ground.

Gloria Hammond is a minister of healing, who came to her calling through experiences with young women whom she found challenging to help. Through experience, she gained hope that there was a way to reach youth. She started a Creative Writing Ministry for Young Girls that offered the youth constant relationships and role models. After reading "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide", the group had an intense variety of emotional responses, and she realized that the only thing to be done was to pray together.

Change is a process, in which you take some steps forward and take many steps back. That spiritual dimension is really critical. It is a generation of kids both receptive and desperate for that. They want to see adults who will "walk the talk." Kids are desperate to have a piece of what they see as successful in our lives. We need to own these kids, as they exercise right and wrong behavior, as our own kids. The Church is like a village unto itself.

3:30 Break

3:45 TPC Youth: Roundtable II: Inward Journey: "Impact of Ministry On Our Lives"

Approximately eighteen young men, who have been part of the Ten Point Fatherhood Program and Project EXCEL, join the participant group. The now large group breaks into smaller subgroups, of about six to eight people each, to openly talk about their lives and experiences. At the end of the hour, one elder and one youth from each circle report their findings to the broader group.

5:00 Break

6:00 Dinner in Boston

7:30 Caucus Meeting: Clergy, Law Enforcement, and Civil Society Meeting and Sharing

Wednesday, November 15th
Bridging of Church and the Law

9:00 Coffee

9:30 Dr. Allan Callahan, HDS: Morning Bible Study: Summary

Just as Jesus came down from the mountain to speak to his disciples on the plain, so must you as peacemakers come down from the mountaintop of this 4-day event to the plain to continue your struggle for peace in your communities. Always keep in your heart that your commitment to the Kingdom of God is what fuels your struggle, and continuously communicate your vision to others who are in desperate need of peace.

10:00 Training Participants: Morning Travel

10:30 Superintendent Paul Joyce, Boston Police Dept: Operation Total Recall and Community Policing

In the 1990's The Boston Police Department reduced the firearm–related violence by partnering with probation, the clergy, and the educational system. Partnering and clear communication were crucial in ensuring that the entire community was connected and committed to building the communities. Working together, they developed a full understanding of the violence, vehicles for prevention, and the means to prosecute those youth whom were the most threatening to the community. They focused only on the areas were the violence was occurring, started to monitor and put an end to the trafficking of firearms in Massachusetts, and raised penalties for firearm possession. By starting a number of prevention programs and working directly with other areas of the community, they are able to build trust among the youth and are seen as providing prevention, not simply prosecution.

Due to a recent increase in the juvenile population, a decrease in the age that children commit crimes, and the re-entry of incarcerated youth into society, the Boston police department has had to refocus its efforts to stop the violence. They worked with the communities to determine what they felt were the problems in their areas and then took action. By working directly with the communities, they built trust among its members who then felt empowered and committed to making their areas safe. They focused on prosecuting high-visibility offenders and working with the clergy and probation to develop re-entry programs. Their connection to the community is crucial to keeping the community healthy.

Bernie Fitzgerald: Boston Police Dept., Chief of Dorchester Probation

12:00 Lunch: Hosted by Boston Police Department

1:00 Training Participants: Afternoon Travel to the Boston Court House

Attorney General's Programs: Don Stern, US Attorney for the District of Massachusetts and Raffi Yessayan, Assistant District Attorney for Suffolk County

The Attorney General's Programs address Federal, State, and Local prosecution levels. Boston has had considerable success dealing with violence. There are three or four things that we think we did right:

  • We started the Dorchester High School initiative
  • The law enforcement community worked together more closely
  • We made sure that the partnerships included community-based and faith-based organizations.
  • The players in the system began to think outside of their traditional roles.

Holding a broader perspective is what has helped us succeed, and we worked together, rather than being territorial in our efforts. We have programs to help educate and integrate people in communities. When we started with this, it seemed overwhelming, but we let the data drive our understanding of the issues ahead of us. They became more manageable once we collected information and narrowed the scope of the problem. Toward this end, we started to study differences between behaviors of groups.

Peter Forbes: Department of Youth Services, Juvenile Detention Programs

We work with probation, the police, and the clergy to help identify youth who are struggling, and we rehabilitate and re-integrate youth into the communities. Re-integration is the most challenging piece of building healthy communities. Our intervention is immediate and short-term. Through our work we have found that information is half the game and managing the information is the other half. We are committed to working with the clergy to rehabilitate youth while they are incarcerated and help them to re-enter the community as a healthy member of society. Trust must be developed at the field level to ensure that the community is committed to its own health and safety.

6:00 Dinner in Cambridge

Thursday, November 16th
Bridging of Church and Community

9:30 Coffee/Morning Watch Words from Klaus Burkhardt

There is a community that issues watch words for the day as a way to provide focus. I want to share some words with you. The church throughout Judea had peace. They were living in the fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. This fear of the Lord and comfort of the Holy Spirit helped increase peace. Peace is a way of building up the church. We are confronting many problems in the plains, such as in Palestine. A German was killed there yesterday trying to help his brothers. We must remember how vulnerable peace is. We thank you that you bestow peace on us. We feel your presence and peace as wonderful gifts and rejoiced in a birthday today. We are mindful of instability and vulnerability of peace in our communities

As we look at the sermon on the plain, please protect our brothers and sisters in Palestine. Please start comforting them and healing their wounds. We lift up the situation in the Middle East to you. You have the answers while we have questions. Let us be focused on peace, drawing upon you for strength. We pray in your name. Amen.

9:45 Dr. Allan Callahan, Harvard Divinity School: Morning Bible Study

Just as Jesus had to spend time on the mountain top gathering his apostles to help him in his struggle, so must we, as peacemakers in our commitment to the Kingdom of God, spend time on the mountain and gather those to help us in our struggle. We must prepare ourselves with our colleagues on the mountain before we go on the plain. As you continue your struggle for peace, remember your experience with your colleagues on the mountain top.

10:30 Training: Morning Travel

11:00 Rev. Cheryle Albert: Union Baptist Church, Safe Havens Program, Church and Family Agencies

Jeffrey Brown: One of the points of the Safe Havens Program is to put a light on the issue of domestic violence. We are trying to encourage peace all the way down to the level of the home.

Cheryle Albert: I know that you have talked about violence in many ways. I feel that domestic violence is different from other violence; it is an intimate one that takes place behind closed doors and in secret.

Domestic violence occurs when someone is taking control, not when they are out of control. It is planned and plotted. Ninety-five to ninety-seven percent of domestic violence is of a male battering the woman or child. We need to move from a place of taboo to open dialogue around this issue. The Safe Havens Program is designed to address these concerns. The responsibility of the Church is connecting with outside resources, in an effort to face up to the ways we have not appropriately dealt with domestic violence. It becomes our responsibility to be the ones to break the silence. We also work with children who themselves are abused and those who are witnesses of domestic violence. The traumatic influence upon them is the same. This is creating another generation of violence.

So I ask us this question, as we move into a conversation forum: what can you do, what can we do, as we learn from each other, that we can take back to our countries to create a better world for ourselves?

12:30 Lunch in the Church

1:30 Afternoon Travel: Local Boston Culture - Quincy Market

4:00 Chris Byner, Streetworker Program
Tito Whittington, Streetworker Program, Police: Crips & Bloods Initiative

We work with the Boston Community Centers and have developed various programs from pediatrics to geriatrics. We developed a Streetworker Program to help people gain access to services and target the gangs. Our streetworker population is extremely diverse. We steer the gang members into a program, and get them the resources they need. Our connection with the community allows us to mobilize quickly to help those in need. We help people who want to help themselves and inform them of the resources that are available to them. We find out kids who are salvageable. We act as probation officers as well. We work with the entire community to provide support. Through Operation Homefront we are now able to identify new problems and address issues quickly using our collaboration formula. Clergy was a big part of our training with the gang units. I work as a liaison from the Boston police department to the school department.

6:00 Evening Travel: Home Visits/Operation Homefront

7:00 Dinner in Cambridge

Friday, November 17th
Together, Bringing Peace to Your City

9:30 Opening Prayer

Let us pray. I ask us to think of the following items today. I would like you to participate in prayer. We are the healers in our countries. Let us pray for wisdom in our process. Let us pray for our countries and our neighboring countries. Let us pray for the organization of churches. Let us pray for the hosting city and church. Let us pray for justice and peace to prevail throughout the world. Let us pray for the victims and the perpetrators of violence. Let us pray for the rich and poor, so they will be able to join hands together. Let us pray for the wisdom to overcome violence. God, hear our prayer. Amen.

9:35 Dr. Allan Callahan, HDS - Morning Bible Study

Our spiritual life can be divided into three moments. The moment of communion, which is our relationship with God on the mountain top, the moment of community, where we engage our disciples on the mountain, and the moment of compassion, where we descend the mountain and make contact with those who struggle on the plain. We must all, as peacemakers, do Jesus' work to heal those that are suffering through our voice and our touch, the physical and spiritual. The power of community, communion, and compassion will flow through you and help you in your healing. We must all carry our cross, and take comfort in the fact that Jesus bore the cross, and gave us this vision which can be released through you.

There is a tragedy in the fact that I can not speak to you in any African language. I look forward to the day when many languages will be used to exchange these words. I know how to speak to people in several languages, but none of those are African languages. That is part of the tragedy of our present situation. My African ancestors lost their language. We've been denied the right to be homesick for this. Today I will use English, the medium of exchange. We will look forward to a day when many exchanges will take place.

10:00 Diane Kessler, Executive Director of Massachusetts Council of Churches

We are all honored by your presence. The unity that we all have in Christ is reflected by the unity that we have with each other. This is part of a worldwide longing for constructive ways to heal and promote peace with justice. We have humanity in our work, and it will have a ripple effect throughout the world.

10:05 Rev. Jeffrey Brown: The Ten Point Coalition Story

You are all going to take a journey in your struggle to make peace, which sometimes may be arduous. You must go into this journey with your eyes wide open and recognize that there may be forces that will not understand your commitment and philosophy. I have witnessed this through my own personal experience. Although I saw the violence around me and had a vision, others did not. Jesse McKee's story and the Morningstar incident were catalysts that the clergy and I needed to form a collaboration to collectively stop the violence. Although we were forming a collaborative effort, we still had to struggle. Some of the struggle was with the black leadership due to my belief in justice. I needed the support of the youth to stand up to the injustice that I believed was happening with the Nation of Islam. You must be strong to stand up for what you believe in. Our struggle was also in our own collective, due to the fact that we were four separate individuals with our own philosophies and egos. Keep my words in mind as you continue your struggle for peace. You must figure out the best way for you to move forward with your struggle without letting it control your life. Work with your disciples, because you can’t do it alone. Replicate what we are doing here in your own countries. That is what this movement is about.

10:30 Break

11:00 Conference Participants Individual City Caucus, Generating a City Plan

Jeffrey Brown: It is time to divide up into your localities to discuss how you can overcome violence. Here is a set of questions to help you launch the beginnings of plan, as you think about communion, compassion, and community:

  • What is the situation that you need to address?
  • What needs to change? (view this from a grassroots perspective)
  • Who would make up the essential core for change?
  • What elements make your situation complex?
  • What are the sacrifices needed?

12:30 Lunch

1:00 Plenary: Sharing of Plans and Discussion

The large group re-gathers to report back to each other on their insights and action intents for the work ahead of them. The report proceeds city by city: Kingston, Freetown, Bazulu Natale, Durban, Rio de Janeiro, Botoga, Salt Lake City, Braunschweig, Tuzla, and Belfast.

4:45 Rev. Jeffrey Brown: Commissioning & Blessing Service

I have been thrilled to hear all of these stories. I've been listening to each one of you as you have been talking. I have seven observations, some principles to take to heart:

  • When you go back to your context, to your cities, identify who the individuals are who will be doing the work
  • Make sure that your commitment will be stronger than your setbacks
  • You will be the voice in a culture of silence
  • Keep your focus on your goal
  • Immerse and bathe yourself in the efforts of the grassroots - keep your feet on the ground
  • Relationship-relationship-relationship - build and maintain them
  • Don't be afraid to admit your limitations - be honest about yourselves.

AND Don't let your zeal go beyond God's vision

Salpy Eskidjian: We have made a commitment that this is a Network we want to sustain, and the WCC will act as the facilitators in that effort. If we are committed to a Decade to Overcome Violence, we cannot do it alone. If we can co-develop programmatic relationships together, we can make sure to keep funding and programs in place. We encourage you to develop bilateral links, with inter-city exchanges, regional workshops and other training opportunities. And we need continual feedback in order to meet your needs. It was a pleasure to have you all here. I want to thank Rev. Jeffrey Brown, Rev. Ray Hammond and all the contributors to this workshop once again. I hope we can let, and help, the Peace to the City Network provide a space for us to learn from each other and inspire others to join.

5:00 Rev. Dr. Ray Hammond: Commissioning & Blessing Service

Thank you for travelling such distances to be here this week. I want to thank God for the commitment you have made and for taking on such daunting challenges. When people ask us what it is we really do - yes, we have outreach efforts. But the most important work we do is the three R's:

  • 1. Renewal
  • 2. Responsibility
  • 3. Reconnection

In a final blessing, I ask that we join hands together. (Heavily paraphrased)

It's a miracle, that across boundaries, we can come together to pray for your peace, oh God, in the slums and the worn-torn lands, so that we and a new generation can be inspired by your inspiration and spirit. We thanks you for the greater work you will bring to pass.

6:00 Dinner
7:00 Recreation in Boston & Farewell

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