Peacemaking organization honoured for its dedication to service, leadership, and reconciliation
Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) is pleased to announce that it will present its CMU PAX Award to Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) next month.
CMU President Dr. Cheryl Pauls will present the award to Sarah Thompson, executive director of CPT, on Wednesday, April 5 at Gather. Give. Celebrate. Spring at CMU, an annual fundraiser in support of the university.
“The work and witness of Christian Peacemaker Teams bring public attention to the beauty of courage and vulnerability that is vital to peacebuilding,” Pauls says. “The CMU learning community is inspired by the stories of CPT and its executive director, Sarah Thompson.”
The CMU PAX Award was created to honour people and organizations who are dedicated to service, leadership, and reconciliation in church and society.
“Christian Peacemaker Teams is deeply humbled to receive the CMU PAX Award,” Thompson says. “The journey towards peace is a long and challenging path. Yet, we know we are not walking alone on this journey.”
For nearly 30 years, CPT has sought to build partnerships to transform violence and oppression around the world.
Envisioning a world of communities that together embrace the diversity of the human family and live justly and peaceably with all creation, CPT has committed itself to work and relationships that honour and reflect the presence of faith and spirituality; strengthen grassroots initiatives; transform structures of domination and oppression; and embody creative non-violence and liberating love.
CPT was formed in 1986 out of a desire of the historic peace churches to seek new ways of expressing their faith. After the formation of a steering committee, the first staff person began work in 1988.
By 1992, CPT had put together a series of delegations to Haiti, Iraq and the West Bank. The steering committee then set a goal to develop a Christian Peacemaker Corps of 12 full-time persons, with a much larger number of reservists.
By the end of 1998, when the organization reached the goal of a 12-person peacemaker corps, it had set up and staffed violence-reduction projects in Haiti; Washington, D.C.; Richmond, VA; Hebron, West Bank; Bosnia; and Chiapas, Mexico.
Today, CPT has regional groups in Europe; the United Kingdom; Oceania (Australia, New Zealand, and Indonesia); Philippines; Colorado; northern Indiana; and Ontario. CPT has around 30 full- and part-time, stipended peacemakers and nearly 200 part-time volunteers who serve in violence-reduction projects around the world.
The CPT experience has demonstrated that small teams of four to six people trained in the skills of documentation, observation, nonviolent intervention, and various ministries of presence can make a striking difference in explosive situations.
Along the way, more than 30 alumni, faculty, and staff of CMU and its predecessor colleges have worked for CPT. That includes Dr. Harry Huebner, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Theology, who helped found the organization.
“CMU has been a place of nourishment for many CPTers,” Thompson says. “While (the CMU PAX Award) recognizes the peace work of CPT, we hope it also recognizes the deep relationship between CPT and CMU. As we continue to work for holistic peace and justice, with our neighbours across the street and our neighbours around the world, may we continue to challenge, nourish, and hold each other up.”
This is the third year that Canadian Mennonite University has given out the CMU PAX Award.
In 2015, it was awarded to Jean Vanier, who founded L’Arche, an international federation of communities for people with developmental disabilities and those who assist them. In 2016, the CMU PAX Award was presented to Art DeFehr, a humanitarian and business leader.
Gather. Give. Celebrate. Spring at CMU is an evening of story, song, and food in support of CMU. The event takes place at CMU (500 Shaftesbury Blvd.) from 7:00 PM until 9:00 PM.
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as graduate degrees in theology, ministry, peacebuilding and collaborative development, and an MBA. CMU has over 800 full-time equivalent students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury and Menno Simons College campuses and in its Outtatown certificate program.
For information about CMU visit www.cmu.ca.
For additional information, please contact:
Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing
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Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB R3P 2N2