On Friday and Saturday, April 20-21, 2012, a coalition of faith, academic, and community partners will sponsor “LaPaz: Peacemaking and Justice Summit.” LaPaz Summitwill be a training resource for congregations and community organizations that want to be beacons of peace and justice and equip them with the tools to do that. “At times those of us working out in the community can feel isolated and alone in our efforts,” says Jenni Wiebe, founder of Neighborhood Urban Family Center in Pasadena and one of the LaPaz partners. “This summit is an opportunity for people of similar vision, heart, and passion to come together and learn from one another, inspire one another, and be strengthened for the work that God has called us to do,” says Wiebe.
This event will provide learning, capacity enrichment, and networking opportunities under leadership learning tracks that will include transformational leadership, humanity and justice, community development, community organizing, peacemaking, and the missional church. LaPaz Summit is for the whole family. In addition to the many learning options available for adults on both days, this summit will offer a Children’s Summit for ages 5-12 and a TEEN Track for ages 12-18 on Saturday, April 21st.
“There are so many hurting in our communities, that the currency of hope has never had more value,” says Dr. Eric Walsh, Director of Pasadena Department of Public Health. “In this conference,” Walsh continues, “we look at how to cash in that currency of hope, how faith based organizations can assist in alleviating suffering and changing the culture around how we treat those disaffected by the current economic downturn.” A featured keynote speaker at LaPaz, Dr. Walsh recommends that “all who are looking to serve individually attend and be inspired and equipped to do great things for their fellow man.”
LaPaz will offer a unique opportunity for the people of God to share concerns and solutions around social needs. “Since peace and justice are attributes of the Kingdom of God, the church in the earth realm must be the demonstration of peace and justice today,” says Pastor Jean Burch, Senior Pastor of Community Bible Church in Altadena and president of Clergy Community Coalition.
According to Dr. Scott Daniels, Senior Pastor of Pasadena First Church of the Nazarene and Dean of the School of Theology at Azusa Pacific University: “Evangelical Christians have historically been good and thinking about God’s forgiveness of our sins and his transformation of our hearts, but we haven’t always paid careful attention to his call for his disciples to also be active in his redemption of the principalities and powers as well.” “I am excited for all the ways,” says Daniels, “that LaPaz will help local churches think critically about the ways that everyday Christians can become instruments of God’s peace and justice in the world.”