Announcing the New Colombia Accompaniment Coordinator, Jess Hunter-Bowman

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

After three years of highly effective and dedicated service, Linda Eastwood announced her intention to step down from the role of Colombia Accompaniment Coordinator. We have been so grateful for Linda's ability to be a true partner to our colleagues in the Church in Colombia, her zeal for recruiting and supporting new accompaniers, and her high attention to the myriad details necessary to manage this complex program. Even as she steps out of this pivotal role, we have already begun looking for ways to keep Linda linked in to our work and our community. Stay tuned for more about Linda's plans in an upcoming e-news.

While such transitions are always challenging, the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship is extremely pleased to announce that Jess Hunter-Bowman of Witness for Peace will be joining our staff effective October 16, 2013 as the new Colombia Accompaniment Coordinator. Jess comes to the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship (PPF) with extensive experience in Latin America, serving with our partners at Witness for Peace and the U.S. Office on Colombia. He will be taking over staff leadership of our Colombia Accompaniment Program, a jointly-held mission initiative of the Iglesias Presbiteriana de Colombia, the Office of World Mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship. 

Jess Hunter-Bowman and his familyIn addition to his new role as the PPF Colombia Accompaniment Coordinator, Jess Hunter-Bowman serves as the Associate Director of Witness for Peace. Jess lived and worked in Latin America with Witness for Peace for nine years, most recently as the Colombia-based WFP Andean Regional Director. Jess previously worked at the U.S. Office on Colombia as the Senior Associate. From 1998 to 2002, Jess served as a member of the Witness for Peace International Team. He worked on the Guatemala program and co-founded both the Mexico and Colombia programs. He has been widely published in the media, including in the Miami Herald and the Providence Journal. Jess is also the author of a chapter in the book Children of the Drug War. Jess, his wife Janna, and their two daughters currently live in South Bend, IN where they are part of the Cana Community and Kern Road Mennonite Church. He stated: "I am honored to join the long tradition of peace work of the Presbyterian Church embodied by the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship. It is a humbling privilege to be called to stand with the Presbyterian Church of Colombia and support their bold witness for peace and justice in a war-torn land."

Rev. Fritz Gutwein, Associate Director of the PPF says that “Jess’ history of work alongside Colombia speaks for itself. Jess will be an amazing asset to our work in 2014 as PPF celebrates and evaluates ten years of partnership with the Colombia Presbyterian Church and as we plan what that partnership will be in the years to come.” Rev. Shannan Vance-Ocampo, PPF's National Committee Director of Colombia Programs, added: "I am absolutely thrilled that Jess is joining the PPF community as the new Coordinator of the Accompaniment Program. Jess has been a valued and trusted colleague for a number of years, and has offered key advice and insight to the leadership of our program over the years. As we went through the interview process our Colombian partners were able to spend time in conversation with Jess and they offered us a resounding "yes" to calling him to service. Jess' track record speaks for itself, and I am so grateful that he felt a call to join us in our ministry and to offer us his many gifts."

Since 2004 the Colombia Accompaniment Program has to date trained 134 persons throughout the United States to serve as human rights accompaniers in Colombia of which we have sent 100 out into the field. We are particularly excited about the proven track-record that Jess brings to the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship as we move towards our 10-year anniversary in 2014 of our program and the strong leadership he can offer to us as we engage in a time of evaluation.  

The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship was founded in the early 1940’s to offer support to conscientious objectors in the Presbyterian Church during the Second World War. Since that time, PPF has remained committed to its core principles of nonviolent direct action and being a voice for change in the larger church. PPF today is committed to abolition of war, accompaniment in Colombia, closing the School of the Americas, ending gun violence in the United States and peace with justice in the Middle East.

 

Press Contacts

Rev. Fritz Gutwein: fritzg@presbypeacefellowship.org | (202) 681-3437

Rev. Shannan Vance-Ocampo: svanceocampo@gmail.com | (908) 755-2781