By Charles Busch, Congregational Church of Lincoln City, Lincoln City, OR
Peace Village is an education program for teaching peace and nonviolence. Its roots are in the Central Pacific Conference UCC.
The first Peace Village was held 19 years ago at the Lincoln City Congregational UCC. It was created in response to a bullying incident at the local high school. “We decided,” said founder Rev. Charles Busch, “we needed to teach our children how to handle conflicts using peaceful means.”
The 5-day summer camp curriculum, titled Making a Village, has developed over the years. Today it features four core courses: Seeking Peace Within, Nonviolent Conflict Resolution, Media Literacy and Walk About (ecology). Students also create art, hike, and learn about peace heroes (e.g., Gandhi, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Heschel, Badshaw Khan). From the beginning, the program has been interfaith. Students in Lincoln City sit at the feet of Native American Shaman Hasa Brown, Buddhist Dharma teacher Jerry Braza, and Rabbis, Imams and Christian ministers.
This experiment in peace education has grown and spread. This summer, more than a thousand students will attend the 22 Peace Villages in 10 states.