PPF Co-Moderator to Help with Church-Wide Peace Discernment Process

A church-wide exploration of next steps in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s peacemaking witness, which was approved by last year’s 219th General Assembly, will be staffed, in part, by the Rev. Roger Scott Powers, pastor of Light Street Presbyterian Church (Baltimore) and co-moderator of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship. He will represent the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program as a part-time consultant to the General Assembly Peace Discernment Steering Team. The Rev. Christian T. Iosso, Ph.D., coordinator of the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP), will also be staffing the Steering Team.

Seven overtures came to the 2010 Assembly requesting a study or discernment process to honor the 30th anniversary of the influential policy statement, Peacemaking: The Believers’ Calling (1980), and to look at new dimensions of the church’s peace witness for the next generation in the context of a growing interest in nonviolent responses to conflict. The Assembly Committee on Peacemaking combined elements from all of the overtures in a program/policy analysis that will involve both the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program and ACSWP. The process will include convocations that will involve faculty and students from colleges, universities, and seminaries engaged in peace studies.

Upon learning of his appointment by Sara Lisherness, director of the Compassion, Peace and Justice Ministry area of the PC(USA), Powers said: “I’m thrilled to be able to serve the church in this way. Peacemaking and nonviolence have been a passion of mine for a long time.”

Indeed, before he entered seminary, Powers worked as Peacemaking Intern of the Synod of the Northeast (1982-84), served on the national staff of Clergy and Laity Concerned (1985-88), and worked for the Albert Einstein Institution (1989-95), a nonprofit organization founded by Gene Sharp to advance the study and use of strategic nonviolent action in conflicts throughout the world. There he co-edited a 640-page encyclopedia of nonviolent action entitled Protest, Power, and Change (Garland, 1997).

His prior service to the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program has included serving on the Peacemaking Advisory Committee (1999-2001), chairing the conference planning team for "A Force More Powerful: Embracing Jesus' Way of Nonviolence," (Montreat, 2003), and co-authoring a journal resource entitled Resurrection Living: Journeying with the Nonviolent Christ, published by the Peacemaking Program last year.