Part Two of Preventing War, Creating Peace series is Sunday

Part Two of Preventing War, Creating Peace series is Sunday

WomenSpirit, an ecumenical collaboration of 11 Twin Cities organizations supporting women on their spiritual journey, presents Part Two of its series Speak Out: Preventing War, Creating Peace.

Part Two – "Hearing Women's Stories of War and Creating Initiatives for Peace," will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 16, in Room 100, McNeely Hall.

The cost is $10; students' cost is $5 with student ID. Scholarships are available. Only cash or check will be accepted.

Rabbi Amy Eilberg

Pre-registration is appreciated. To register, call the Luann Dummer Center for Women, (651) 962-6118, or WomenSpirit, (612) 823-5901.

Out of a concern for the rhetoric of the United States and Iran about nuclear weapons and escalation of the language of war, a panel of women who have experienced war in their countries will share their stories. Rabbi Amy Eilberg will be the moderator with panelists: Muna Matar, Harper McConnell and Aicha Cooper. Following the panel presentation, audience members will participate in small-group conversations focusing on developing initiatives for peace on both a personal and community level.

Eilberg , the first woman ordained in Conservative Judaism, leads interfaith programming through the Jay Phillips Center for Jewish-Christian Learning and the St. Paul Interfaith Network.  She devotes her rabbinate to peace and reconciliation work, including interfaith dialogue, support for peace-builders in Israel and Palestine, and intra-Jewish dialogue.

Matar, a professor of computer science at Bethlehem University in Palestine, is calling Winona, Minn., home this year. She is teaching a class about Middle Eastern women at Winona's two universities with the hope of changing some of the misconceptions that she says Americans have about Palestinians.

McConnell is a staff member for Heal Africa, a nonprofit organization that works with communities in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to realize and facilitate the potential for development at the medical, economic and social levels. She has worked with women who have been victims of rape (which is used as a weapon of war) and can tell their stories of both the short-term and long-term effects of war on women and children.

Cooper is a young woman from Liberia who, at the age of 11, was caught up in the conflict in her country. Fleeing the country, she was put on a leaking cargo ship without her family. Her story of the terrors of being separated from her family, the uncertainty that the ship would make it to a port and her faith (which she credits with giving her hope and strength) is powerful and compelling.

For updated information, visit the WomenSpirit Web site.

Members of WomenSpirit include:  Central Lutheran Church, Wisdom Ways, St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral, the League of Catholic Women, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Plymouth Congregational Church, Wayzata Community Church, the Luann Dummer Center for Women, St. Olaf Catholic Church, Loyola Spirituality Center and the Basilica of St. Mary.