Lao Evangelical Church Conducts Peace Building Workshop for Christian Leaders
From July 12-15, the Lao Evangelical Church conducted a peace building and conflict transformation training workshop in Vientiane. This first ecumenical effort in peace building included 31 Protestants and 10 Catholic Christian leaders. They came together to think deeply about the roots of conflict, the Christian value of peace and the skills needed to transform conflict into peaceful relationships. A quarter of these leaders were women in church leadership. The delegates worked together in small groups to design methods of conflict mediation for a variety of case studies of conflict that matched the realities these leaders face all the time in their local communities of faith and in society. These leaders brought a lot of pastoral experience in dealing with conflict into the workshop making for rich exchanges of insight. Each day a different leader shared a meditation on a passage of scripture as they sought to let God’s Spirit shed light on the attitudes of the heart they work as obstacles to peace. Afterwards, they dug into the hard work of conflict analysis, mediation, and conflict transformation. Beyond the skills training, this workshop served as another step in building relational bridges between Protestants and Catholics in Laos. Plans are in the works for more workshops to deepen the leadership’s understanding and skills for building peace in the local church, between churches, and throughout Laos.