Professors Frank Rogers and Andy Dreitcer are in Zimbabwe with doctoral student Mazvita Machinga for a 3-day workshop with religious leaders, tribal chiefs, and victims of Zimbabwe's political and social violence. The nation -- which is notoriously ravaged by violence, poverty and HIV/AIDS -- is in desperate need of reconciliation and peace-making, skills which our faculty and students possess. The 3-day meeting is entitled "Creating a Path to Healing: The Church's Role and Its Promise for the Country."
Whenever they have both electricity and Internet access, Andy, Frank and other members of their team (including noted author and spiritual director Mark Yaconelli) are blogging their trip, which so far has been nothing short of remarkable. In a recent post, they talk about their strategy for the workshop:
For real healing and reconciliation to take place, people need to tell their stories, particularly the victims, but there is some concern that if victims tell their story the event will be perceived as a political gathering rather than a pastor’s conference. At the invitation of organizers, the government will be sending representatives to observe the presentations and discussions, so for the well-being of everyone, it is important that we do not allow the conference to become politicized ...We often hear lofty language about "healing the world," but Claremont is doing its part in very tangible ways, half-way around the world, to help a community heal from political violence in ways that do not perpetrate further hatred and hurt. This is Tikkun Olam.