About Faith, Conflict, & the Arts
There is a profound need for Christians and individual churches to grasp a vision for reconciliation. In Northern Ireland, for example, a 30 year conflict began when Ireland was home to one of the largest evangelical churches in Europe. Christianity was confined to buildings on a Sunday morning but had little influence on the rest of the country. Northern Ireland was slowly fragmenting and Christians had little or no concept of the heart of the gospel - reconciliation. In Colossians 1:19-22, Paul talking to the Colossians, states that their faith and practice should be built on the foundation through Christ and the cross, through which "all things" were reconciled. Reconciliation is at the heart of the gospel. As Christians we are called to be ministers of this new reconciliation.
Faith and Conflict is a gathering for Christians to meet together to seek and receive God’s heart for the conflict that exists in their own communities, cities, and places of conflict around the world.
It takes the form of talks, stories, and workshops from practitioners and those who have experienced war as well as ethnic and religious conflict. It also involves participants journeying through their own city or country’s conflicts, to embrace and grow in their understanding of their own city.
By definition, in a conflict zone, there are competing narratives of the history of an area and differing opinions to the causes of the conflict. Faith and Conflict and the Arts is about slowly unpacking what has happened in our communities, cities and places of conflict and listening to these different narratives. By listening, healing can begin. Faith and Conflict is also unique in that it seeks to gather international and cross-cultural understanding, experience, and wisdom of reconciliation from people from South Africa, Lebanon and Northern Ireland to help enlighten the understanding of local conflicts. Most of these conflicts have significant similarities, and as they are reflected upon and there is a commonality in all - the universal remedies of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Order full conference ticket for $40 HERE.
9 am - 10 pm
Includes lunch and site visit
9 am - 10 pm
Includes lunch and site visit
9 am - 4 pm
7pm - 9pm
Hosted at Central Presbyterian Church 7308 York Rd. Towson, MD 21204
7:00- 9:00 pm: Central Presbyterian has offered to host a screening of Walking While Black: L.O.V.E. is the Answer for free at their church, for all of our conference attendees. We invite you to join us! Please register HERE.
Meet our international and local speakers and storytellers.
Director of YWAM Ireland
Jonny Clark is the leader of Youth with a Mission (YWAM) in Ireland. He has spent the last 20 years working in countries with a history of conflict. For 8 years, Jonny and his wife Jenn lived in one of Belfast's most notorious areas - the epicenter of Northern Ireland's 30 year conflict - known as The Troubles. During that time, they began to offer scholarships to young people from areas of conflict to come to Belfast to grow in their Christian faith and be inspired to be a witness for peace and reconciliation in their countries.
It is common for Jonny and Jenn to have Palestinians and Israelis, Lebanese, Syrians, Serbians and Croatians, South Africans, Rwandans and Burundians eating at their table and sharing life with them. Today, they run a large residential centre right on the Irish border in Rostrevor, Ireland. Each year, Jonny facilitates Faith and Conflict gatherings in a number of different places of conflict. In the past, he has facilitated similar gatherings in Bosnia, Lebanon, South Africa, Burundi, and Northern Ireland.
Founder of Foundation for Forgiveness & Reconciliation
Ramy Taleb is the founder of the ministry, Foundation for Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Lebanon (FFRL) a YWAM base in the South of Lebanon, equipping youth and young people with mechanisms for nonviolent conflict resolution through the lens of forgiveness. FFRL seeks to break down dehumanizing perceptions resulting from sectarian division and establish a path towards social reconciliation in Lebanon.
Ramy’s journey into the field of peace-building began when he was granted a scholarship to spend time with Youth with a Mission Belfast. Inspired by being born into and living through the Lebanese civil war, in Belfast he worked in community based peace-building projects in Northern Ireland. Upon arriving in Northern Ireland he soon learned that he would be living and sharing life alongside a Palestinian. Having been brought up in the midst of the sectarian strife of Lebanon, this was a transformative time of breaking down Ramy’s perception of the ‘estranged other’.
While in Northern Ireland, Ramy began to perceive his newfound Palestinian friend through a restored identity, realizing that it was their common humanity, with equal respect and dignity that bound them together.
Ramy developed specific knowledge and experience in the role of forgiveness as a path to peace through his work with the International Forgiveness Institute in Northern Ireland. Following this, he gained further experience working as peace-building coordinator for Caritas Lebanon in South Africa as well as his homeland of Lebanon. He later stepped out to pursue his own vision for what would become the Foundation for Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Lebanon. He currently lives in the south of Lebanon with his wife Roula and their two children. Together, they began running Forgiveness Journey programs from their home and in a local school for Syrian refugees before establishing more programs for Lebanese, Palestinian and Iraqi groups. A key element of their work is the long-term commitment of building bridges between different communities by restoring relationships through regular intergroup engagement. At the heart of what they do is a community and family based approach, recognizing that it is forgiveness that constantly repairs the torn fabric of humanity, of which relationships are at the center.
Team Member of City Story
Mthoko Shange grew up in the township of Hammarsdale, a half an hour drive outside of Durban, South Africa. Through a LifeSkills program, Mthoko became a Christian and his life has radically changed. He spent time in Northern Ireland with YWAM Belfast, receiving Reconciliation and Discipleship training. He has also travelled internationally learning how to bring development and empowerment to communities in a holistic way.
Mthoko is part of an initiative called City Story - a group of Christians focused on expanding spiritual, compassionate, and transformative relationships for the betterment of Durban. He is on staff at Harvest Church Umhlanga.
Mthoko has a big heart for people and works within several different communities within Durban. He and his family feel particularly called to the area of reconciliation, daily acting as a bridge between cultures. What really gets them excited is seeing reconciliation occur between God and man and the power it has to change their nation.
Founder of Be the Bridge
Latasha Morrison is founder of Be the Bridge, whose mission is to inspire the church to have a distinctive and transformative response to racial division. The Church to be present and intentional towards racial reconciliation; Equip bridge builders towards towards fostering and developing vision, skills and heart for racial unity; Build partnerships with existing organizations who have heart for diversity, racial justice, restoration and reconciliation.
She's an abolitionist, bridge-builder, engager and a leading voice in the fight against human trafficking. Having worked with youth and served as a Children’s & the Next Gen Director, she's developed an untamed passion for social justice issues across the globe. One day she hopes to have a compelling voice in Leadership Development. She has been called a “Leader Launcher” by those she's led and served.
She loves being a Bridge-Builder and is still trying to figure LIFE out, but is committed to learning. She's committed to Running towards all God has for her! Her desire is that she becomes nothing less than all God has created her to BECOME.
Director YWAM Baltimore
Kristin Potler is part of a pioneering team that is establishing YWAM Baltimore. Kristin is an artist, storyteller, mom to five and wife to one, amazing man. She is also an entrepreneur having founded and owned Jahva House, a coffee shop, an online boutique, LoveFeast Shop and currently Ripristino Remodeling, a full rehab contracting company with her husband. She's a pioneer, risk taker, lover of travel and finds herself at home in the margins of society. Hospitality is her passion, believing that creating beautiful space is intrinsic to the nature of God.
She is passionate about equipping Christian artists to fully walk in their God design, as prophets, makers of beauty and border-walkers. Artists have been created in such a way that they have the ability to be flexible, adaptable and translators from one tribe to the next. Their place in the body of Christ should not be diminished or, out of fear, kept controlled in understandable boxes. Their voices, songs, paintings and dances need to carry the passion and fire that inspires them to truly reflect their Creator. We need them to take their place at the front of the army, ushering us forth with unrestrained worship.
When artists create in broken spaces, they have the ability to see the beauty in-spite of the hurt and they are able to create that which transcends human understanding and connect others with the Hope that restores. It's that gift that helps bring reconciliation and healing.
Holy Host Ministries is a group that specializes in God's Art. They are fired up disciples of Jesus Christ fulfilling the Father's will on earth through and with the Holy Spirit. The group consists of Leviticus, rapper, songwriter, producer, director, and drummer. Leviticus' wife Deja Lynn, singer, rapper, songwriter, photographer, and guitarist. Justin, aka JustAsWritten, is a pianist, songwriter, spoken word artist, rapper, and producer. Lu is a rapper & songwriter. Rachel, aka Love Conscious, is a singer, poet, and guitarist.
We are children of God that are set apart from the world to make war with the kingdom of darkness and unify and establish the Kingdom of God with love through the Holy Spirit. Our mission is to change the atmosphere with the Lord's music and bring souls to Jesus Christ.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
Colossians 3:16-17 KJV
Architect Student at Morgan State University
Kristen is a Jesus-loving, architecture-obsessing, connector, implementer, creator who asks questions and sparks conversations.
She currently lives in Baltimore City where she attends Morgan State University’s School of Architecture + Planning. Before she decided to pursue a career in architecture, Kristen spent the last few years on staff at local churches (in Baltimore and Shanghai, China), managing restaurants (in her hometown of Hereford, Maryland), and working with local community and non-profit organizations (in Baltimore City).
On campus, she uses her diverse professional background to connect students with the architecture profession through firm visits, resume & portfolio editing, and challenging the students around to think outside of the box.
In conjunction with the normal architecture curriculum, Kristen has embarked on an independent study to explore how thoughtful design can facilitate and prompt racial reconciliation within Baltimore City.
She is passionate about people, loves a good story, and believes that bringing Jesus into hospitality and design will change the world.
Jenn, originally from Baltimore, has been living and working in Northern Ireland since 2002. Jenn and her husband Jonny pioneered the work of YWAM in the inner city of Belfast in one of the most deprived and conflicted neighborhoods. During that time she was part of leading 4-8 week outreaches in places such as Rwanda, Burundi, South Africa, Israel and the Palestinian territories. Since 2010 Jonny and Jenn have been running a centre of reconciliation on the Irish border in an area where CS Lewis’s Narnia series is based. Jenn is a mother of 3 boys and is actively involved in organizing a host of local events that build community in their area. She is a gifted story teller, bible teacher and brings energy, passion and a warm heart to whatever she does.
As minority communities face the daily stranglehold of racial profiling, and police officers face relentless scrutiny by an anxious public, tensions mount as lines are being drawn in the sand. This conflict can only be broken by finding common ground with each other. L.O.V.E. Is The Answer.
Saturday Night-FREE Showing
Central Presbyterian at 7308 York Rd, Towson, MD 21204 is generously offering to show the Walking While Black movie to our conference attendees and their friends and family, for FREE.
This is a powerful documentary making a case that L.O.V.E. is the answer.
Answers to questions you may have...
Will there be childcare?
Childcare will be available for the Thursday and Friday evening sessions as well as all day Saturday.
Will dinner be provided Thursday and Friday?
No. Dinner will be on your own, but our bus and van drivers who are taking you to the site visits, will take you to a local place to purchase food before returning to the conference.
What is YWAM?
YWAM stand for Youth With a Mission. YWAM is an international, interdenominational, intergenerational and multicultural Christian missions organization. Our desire is to know God and make Him known. You can learn more at ywam.org.
Will there be parking?
The conference is being held at Church at Baltimore, a church nestled in Irvington, a community in Baltimore city. There is street parking around the neighborhood. If you are uncomfortable parking, we will have a few people out front of the church, available to ride with you, help you find parking and escort you back to the venue.
I'm traveling in from out of town. Can you recommend hotels?
We recommend getting a hotel in or around the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. While it's not incredibly close to the conference (6 miles away) it is a wonderful area of our city. There is plenty to do and in walking distance. If you don't rent a car, we recommend taking a Uber to the conference. It will be approximately $11 each way. Airbnb is another great place to look for accommodations.
I want to check out Baltimore, what are the top 5 things I MUST do?
1. Baltimore Water Taxi: We recommend getting a one day pass for $14. There are stops all around the Harbor. You can easily spend the day visiting Canton, Fells Point, the Inner Harbor, Federal Hill and Fort McHenry. We think this is one of the best ways to see our city.
2. National Aquarium: The National Aquarium is a local favorite. Whether you follow the sharks or get splashed by the dolphins, or mesmerized by the jellyfish, it's an excellent way to spend the afternoon.
3. Art Museums: Baltimore is home to some wonderful museums. The Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum are FREE to visit. If you're wandering the Inner Harbor, we also think the American Visionary Art Museum is a highlight!
4. Federal Hill: Take a hike to the top of Federal Hill for an amazing view of our city.
5. Hampden: Home to the HON fest and a main street filled with quirky shops, fun boutiques, great restaurants and a glimpse into Bawlmer (Baltimore) culture.