After a summer of interviews, discernment, and prayer, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship is excited and proud to introduce Rev. Dr. Laurie Lyter Bright as our new Executive Director! Her time with us began Monday, October 23.
“I’m elated to be moving deeper into God’s calling by joining Presbyterian Peace Fellowship as executive director,” Laurie shares. “The need for peacemakers in the world is as urgent now as it has ever been, and too many of our communities are left feeling helpless in the face of the enormity of the suffering happening around the world. Our prayers are needed for our neighbors in Gaza, our incarcerated siblings, and all of creation as it bears the weight of violence in many forms.”
“I am convinced that our prayers must be accompanied by meaningful, substantive action. PPF has a long and powerful history of moving our denomination toward justice and peace-building, and I am honored to be joining in that story.”
Laurie arrives at PPF with incredible insight, hope, and enthusiasm for the work at hand. Those values are especially relevant in this moment, as war continues in Ukraine, and the threat of genocide in Gaza – a direct result of the violence inherent in a colonial settler-state – looms over the Palestinian people. Resisting violence that manifests in multiple forms, on both global and local levels, requires the ability to identify connections between multifaceted sources, and to imagine equally creative responses that interrupt cycles of violence. Laurie’s commitment to that creative justice work, fueled by her deep joy and fierce hope for a peaceful world, will empower PPF to continue being a countercultural voice for peace in a militarized world, and deepen our own work of creating a world in which war is waged no more.
Laurie is an author, organizer, and Presbyterian (USA) pastor in Wisconsin, where she serves as Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian Church, Neenah. She brings a background in international justice work, with professional work taking her to the UK, India, Palestine, Israel, and across the U.S. She’s a perpetual student, mom of two small and wild children, wife to Jesse, and an amateur farmer with more enthusiasm than skill. Her flock expands to 11 chickens, two goats (Laverne and Shirley), and a dog (Angus MacDonald, Boy Detective), with a promise to only add one new species per year. Laurie’s writing has been published in curricula, academic journals, and books, and her dissertation (“The Body and the Word: The Intersection of Religion and Rape Culture”) was completed in 2021 for her PhD in education from Colorado State University. She collects books, stamps in her passport, and friends she meets on airplanes and in other countries.
Laurie’s work has focused on the bridging of justice needs in the world with the daily life of faith communities. This has taken the form of writing for the Fellowship of Reconciliation on countering white Christian nationalism, executive directing the peace-building efforts of Pilgrims of Ibillin, writing curriculum on what it means to “Do Justice” for the Presbyterian Publishing House, community organizing around transformational justice, and speaking nationally on gender equity and gender-based violence. Laurie is passionate about people, and empowering churches to be leaders in their communities as they seek to serve and love those within their communities and their neighbors around the world.
PPF thanks Interim Executive Director David Ensign for his 18 months serving our organization. He will assist in the transition and end his tenure, with our gratitude. “I am thrilled that our search committee has found such an excellent match for our organization,” David says. “PPF’s work will continue on under Laurie’s leadership, continuing a proud 80-year tradition of peacemaking.”
Welcome, Rev. Dr. Laurie Lyter Bright!