Concerned about Gun Violence? Join us at the James Atwood Institute for Congregational Courage

Thursday, August 22 to Sunday, August 25, 2024

The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship invites you –and perhaps others from your church—to attend the inaugural James Atwood Institute for Congregational Courage at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, NM on August 22-25, 2024. Honoring the late Presbyterian prophet of gun violence prevention James Atwood, the Institute will offer intense continuing education for clergy and lay leaders in a range of educational, pastoral and action strategies for gun violence prevention mission in the local congregation.

You can register for the institute here

You can find out more about the institute here and/or by checking out the Frequently Asked Questions below.



Who should attend the Atwood Institute for Congregational Courage?

  • Clergy, congregational leaders and individuals who are ready to join a movement within the church to provide practical, pastoral and prophetic action to prevent and respond to gun violence
  • Clergy, congregational leaders and individuals who are passionate and committed to this work, yet need a community of support and/or some new skills
  • Survivors of gun violence who seek a way to turn grief into healing and action.

For the lessons of the Atwood Institute to have the most effect in your area, we encourage you to find at least 2-3 people from your community (congregation, Presbytery, metropolitan area, etc.) to attend together, so that you can learn together, and go back en-couraged and ready to lead in your community.  Register here.

I am attending with a small group of people, should we register as a company or as individuals?

If a small group is registering from a single organization (or congregation), a single registrant can register as a “company” and pay for multiple individuals.  Use this page to register as a company.

How much does this cost?

Registration for the Atwood Institute is $180 per person, which covers attendance at all Atwood Institute programming from August 22-25, 2024 at Ghost Ranch.

In addition to the registration fee, you will need to select your lodging and meal choices from the variety of options at Ghost Ranch.  A list can be found here.

You will also need to arrange and pay for transportation from your location for all members of your party.  See this page for helpful information.

Can I get a scholarship for the Atwood Institute?

Thanks to help from sponsors, we do have scholarship assistance! Apply here.

How do I pay for this?

We encourage you to talk to your church, presbytery, synod or other church entities to inquire about scholarship funds that might be available to you for peacemaking or local mission work.

Clergy: we encourage you to use your study leave funds for the Atwood Institute.

How do I get to / from Ghost Ranch?

Please see this page for travel options.


What is the housing like at Ghost Ranch?

See this page for specific information about lodging options, and see this page for photos and descriptions of each option.

What about food?

Breaking bread together is a fundamental part of Christian fellowship and community building.  Important conversations happen, relationships are formed/strengthened, and our bodies and souls find nourishment in this simple act of sitting together at table for meals.

Regardless of the lodging option you choose, we encourage you to sign up for meals!

If you have dietary restrictions or allergies, please let us know what they are when you register.

Can the Atwood Institute and Ghost Ranch accommodate my disability?

Please let us know what kind of accommodation you need when you register.

Do I have to identify as Presbyterian to attend the Atwood Institute?

Absolutely not!  All denominations are welcome. We will specifically focus on leveraging the Christian community in the gun violence prevention movement.

What am I going to DO there?

As a continuing education event, the Atwood Institute will train clergy and lay leaders in practical, pastoral and prophetic Gun Violence Prevention (GVP) sk

ills for congregational use.

We will offer workshops on: preaching about gun violence; educating all ages and discussing gun violence in your congregation; de-escalation techniques and strategies to manage opposition and trauma; fostering courage and resilience in congregations and clergy for long-term involvement; and engaging congregations and communities in practical GVP actions.  The Atwood Institute will offer hands-on training for Gun to Gardens events, including the opportunity to transform a gun into a garden tool.

Many of the resources on which we will rely at the Atwood Institute can be found in the Pre

sbyterian Peace Fellowship Gun Violence Prevention Congregational Toolkit.  

Can my spouse/family attend with me?

Yes!  Ghost Ranch offers a variety of lodging options and daily activities.  See this page for a list of activity options for those who are not registered for Atwood Institute or who wish to participate in activities offered at Ghost Ranch around our planned workshops.

I would like to keep updated on the Atwood Institute between now and August 22nd.  How do I do that?

Great!  We’d love to stay in touch!  Please sign up here for updates.

I can’t attend but I want to support someone else with a scholarship!

Thank you!  Please make your donation here.

I can’t attend the whole event but want to attend the Keynote.  What do I need to know?

We’d love to meet you, local folks!  Please join us on Thursday, August 22, 2024 for our opening night to launch the James Atwood Institute for Congregational Courage!  We will begin with dinner together at Ghost Ranch at 6 PM, followed by a keynote address featuring Father John Dear, Catholic priest, author of 40 books, and globally recognized activist for Christian nonviolence. Past director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Father Dear now directs his efforts towards gun violence prevention.

Come for an even

ing that promises to ignite courage and action within our churches.

What if I want to attend the PPF Activist Council gathering, as well?

Presbyterian Peace Fellowship Activist Council Gathering  Aug. 25 – 28 at Ghost Ranch.

Celebrate PPF’s 80th year. Participate in our current and new Working Groups. Plan our next steps in a world consumed by violence, suffering and war. 

All Atwood Institute participants are welcome to stay for these days of worship, training, planning and community.

For questions about the Peace Fellowship Activist Council Gathering, contact Christa Galvin at