Friday, August 12, 2011

Orthodox Peace Fellowship conference to focus on forgiveness

Orthodox Peace Fellowship conference to focus on forgiveness:

UW professor Robert D. Enright, Kim Phuc to be keynote speakers


The North American Conference of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship has chosen Madison as the location for its 2011 conference, to be held Friday, Sept. 16 to Sunday, Sept. 18. “Forgiveness: Finding Wholeness Again” is the conference theme.


Robert D. Enright Ph.D., professor of educational psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will be a keynote speaker. Enright is a founding member of the International Forgiveness Institute Inc., is the author of four books including “Forgiveness is a Choice.” He has appeared on “20/20” and “NBC Nightly News,” and his work has been featured in TIME, McCall’s Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and the LA Times.


Some of the other speakers expected at the event:


  • Kim Phuc (the child depicted in the 1972 Pulitzer Prize winning photo, running naked after being burned in a South Vietnamese napalm attack);


  • Rev. George Morelli Ph.D. (chairman of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese Department of Chaplaincy and Pastoral Counseling Ministry);


  • Judith Toy (Buddhist cleric and author of “Murder as a Call to Love”);


  • Miroslav Volf (director of the Yale Center for faith and Culture and author of “Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace”);


  • Rev. John-Brian Paprock (pastor of Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church, Madison, and author of “Neighbors, Strangers and Everyone Else”).



“‘Forgiveness’ is a topic that has much to do with ‘peace,” says Alexander Patico of the OPF. “Conflict between two individuals or two groups can cease, but often the seeds of future conflict are there, ready to germinate at the first opportunity.  Without forgiveness, we achieve only a surface calm, not a reconciliation that is the foundation of true peace.”


Without forgiveness, says Patico, “inner peace remains elusive, as well. There are, however, many different ways to think about forgiveness – what it means and what conditions must exist for it to happen. The conference will explore those different conceptions, so that forgiving might become more feasible for all who take part.”


Additional speakers are in the process of being confirmed. The conference will also include films, food and fellowship. Non-members and non-Orthodox are welcome to attend.


The event will be held at the Bishop O’Connor Pastoral Center, 702 S. High Point Road, Madison. At the end of the conference, attendees can choose to attend Sunday services at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church, 11 North 7th St., Madison.


Information will be available about conference costs shortly; the organization plans to offer low-cost options for those with financial challenges or who are coming from greater distances.


Reservations must be received prior to Wednesday, Sept. 14. More information is available by contacting Patico at or Rev. Paprock at or 608.242.4244


The Orthodox Peace Fellowship is an association of Orthodox Christians applying the principles of the Gospel to situations of division and conflict – in the home, the parish, the community, the work place, and within and between nations.



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