Thank you to Alison Janus for sharing this reflection from our Accompaniment Learn & Discern training in Montreat, NC – October 2019. Go here for information about accompaniment with PPF and our next Learn & Discern training.
Want to do something tangible to help the migrants seeking asylum at US/Mexico border?
Interested in learning more about the Colombian Peace Process?
Did you ever wish that you could walk side by side with those who seek justice and work to build peace in Latin America?
In October, fourteen individuals from a variety of geographic regions and faith practices joined Presbyterian Peace Fellowship (PPF) staff Emily Brewer and Alison Wood, to explore these questions at PPF’s Fall training in Montreat, North Carolina. The theme of the weekend was discernment—an in-depth analysis of PPF’s accompaniment programs-unpacking the political, sociological and emotional-social aspects of accompaniment that will lead to a deeper participation in PPF’s initiatives.
PPF staff offered a well rounded introduction to the critical role that accompaniment can play in ensuring the safety of those who work for social justice in areas experiencing conflict-whether that be a shelter assisting migrants seeking asylum or Colombians working toward building peace in a country following decades of violence.
Participants spent time learning the history of Colombia and US border control policy and had time to meet (via Skype) PPF’s partners. Shauna Bowman led a deeply reflective session on the dynamics of White Privilege. There were group meals, hikes and trips to the Ten Thousand Villages store. Saturday evening included the music of David, laughter and sharing.
Most importantly, there were also a number of opportunities to think collaboratively-challenge each other’s perceptions about culture, language and history. What can we learn from each other? How can we work together? What do we need to know to become effective accompaniers? Can we do it?
For some, this was an introduction to the critically important work of accompaniment. For others, the weekend offered an opportunity to reflect on a number of rich experiences, to share practice wisdom. For all, the weekend offered a welcome respite- time and space that can be difficult to carve out in our busy lives.