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Peace and Conflict: The Curriculum

We yearn for peace in a time of palpable polarization and populism; daily reports of violence in our communities and around the world; tensions within our homes, workplaces, congregations and communities; injustice, inequality and division. We hear God calling us to be peacemakers — but in the midst of all this unrest, peace feels farther and farther out of reach.

As a community of faith, guided by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) social statement For Peace in God’s World (1995), we developed this curriculum to explore: What is peace? How is it present in our lives? How is it absent? Who are the peacemakers that walk among us, and those that have gone before us? How are we called to be peacemakers in a broken world?

This curriculum often asks more questions than it provides answers and that is intentional. The curriculum aims to build comfort with the concept of peace as a process, complex and inherently full of tension. Parts of the curriculum intend to offer a foundation and tools for creating peace processes in our own relationships and communities.

We hope that this curriculum is structured in a way that Young Adults can use, give, share and create space to have discussions about peace and conflict. Session 1 is designed to develop a shared vocabulary to talk about peace and conflict. Two short communication workshops introduce tactics to foster safe and productive conversation: nonviolent communication and active listening. Session 2 dives into portions of the ELCA social statement on peace, to explore what it means to make peace. Session 3 introduces well-known peacemakers and peacemaking organizations as a lens to explore our call to make peace, and Session 4 offers tactics and opportunities to get involved in peacemaking in our communities and in our world.