The Buttry Center for Peace and Nonviolence

The Buttry Center for Peace and Nonviolence enables learners to serve humanity through compassionate and empathic action that leads to progressive, purposeful change.

Central Seminary is dedicated to promoting peace and nonviolence through initiatives that extend beyond traditional academic programs. In May 2018, Central Seminary launched The Buttry Center for Peace and Nonviolence to strengthen our efforts to promote sustainable peace through collaborative partnerships. The Buttry Center is named after Dan and Sharon Buttry, who worked as Global Peace Consultants for International Ministries of the American Baptist Churches, USA. In 2009, Dr. Buttry was awarded an honorary doctoral degree from Central Seminary in recognition of his efforts to promote global peace.

Since its inception, the Buttry Center has offered students education, training, and other opportunities to resolve conflict and promote peace. If you want to join our mission and discuss how we can work together to create a more just world, contact us today.

Mission and Values That Lead to Sustainable Change

The Buttry Center's mission is to "theologically engage, educate, and connect people of faith for seeking justice, nurturing peace, and caring for creation."

We pursue this mission by focusing on the following core values:

Our core values recognize that sustainable peace cannot be maintained unless it is rooted in seeking justice through nonviolent means. Ecojustice and creation care are emphasized to protect the earth and create harmony with the world around us. Collaborative partnerships and interreligious cooperation are necessary to turn dialogue into action with other religious groups.

To fulfill this mission, the Buttry Center continually works to create resources and organize events that promote these values to Central Seminary students, individuals, and faith communities. Through these efforts, participants can expand their biblical, theological, and theoretical education, while building practical skills that translate this new knowledge into action.

The Buttry Center also directly supports the academic mission of our degree programs. The peacemaking offerings are directed towards students enrolled in the Master of Arts (Theological Studies) degree with peacemaking emphasis. The focus on social and environmental justice directly contributes to the justice and personhood threads included in the Master of Divinity curriculum.

Responding to Racial Injustice Through Peaceful Means

We cannot promote peace and nonviolence in today’s world without looking honestly at the injustice faced by African Americans who are too often oppressed through systemic racism. We hope to use our resources at the Buttry Center to activate our advocacy for racial justice. As we continue to listen to minority voices and learn from their experiences, we can improve our ability to create positive, lasting change that results in equality for oppressed minorities and communities.

Join Our Mission to Promote Peace and Nonviolence

If you are interested in learning how you can become involved with the Buttry Center for Peace and Nonviolence, contact us today. We invite people of all faiths to join us in our mission to actively promote nonviolent solutions to today’s most pressing issues. We hope you will be a part of our mission to heal our world through conflict transformation and spiritual practice.

Resources for the Mission

Workshops

“Difficult Conversations”

A three-part workshop series on Zoom featuring Dan and Sharon Buttry
Thursdays, March 11, 18, & 25, 12-1 pm (CT)

Families and churches have always struggled with difficult conversations. But the current toxic and politically divisive ethos of our country has made it even harder. Widely varying perspectives based on different sources of information and understandings of “the facts” have made bridging the relational divides even more strenuous. And yet our Christian calling to live in loving relationships with others and to be Christ’s ambassadors of reconciliation remains. Our calling to be peacemakers involves how we relate to family and church members, as well as the work we do within the public sphere. And all of this requires us to be able to engage well with others during difficult conversations. These three zoom workshops are designed to help you in this endeavor.

March 11 – Difficult Conversations in our Churches and Families.

This workshop explores our feelings about difficult conversations and applies specific calls to discipleship to those feelings and contexts. We look at biblical teaching and discipleship on topics of mindset and interactions. The goal is to equip participants for discernment of media/information sources and for how to engage in difficult conversations in constructive ways.

March 18 – Practices for Difficult Conversations.

This zoom workshop looks at some best practices for listening. Participants practice a deep listening exercise called “Common Ground,” which is related to divisive issues. They discuss good questions to ask during difficult conversations and explore options for when discussions and relationships deteriorate.

March 25 – Strengthening the Relational Context for Difficult Conversations.

Conversations happen within a context. This workshop names and explores narratives for nurturing and sustaining relationships in order to be able to hold conversations about difficult matters.

Dan and Sharon Buttry will be excellent leaders and facilitators of our learning. Before recently retiring, Dan Buttry was a Global Consultant for Peace and Justice, and Sharon Buttry was a Global Consultant for Community Transformation, both with International Ministries of the American Baptist Churches, USA. They have provided consultation and training in conflict transformation and the transformation of communities around the world and in the United States, primarily working with churches. All of this requires a great deal of skill in engaging in difficult conversations. They have a wealth of experience from which to draw in considering our current situation.

Gun Violence

Bullets, Baptists, and the Bible: A Conversation with R&E Authors on Gun Culture and Evangelical Christians

The year 2020 saw gun and ammunition sales leap, homicide and suicide rates remain high, and restless militiamen with semiautomatic weapons in our city streets.  The gravity of the issue of gun violence is ever more apparent.  But what role does religion play in this situation?  More specifically, what is the relationship between gun culture and Evangelical Christians?

These questions are addressed from a variety of scholarly perspectives in the fall issue of Review & Expositor

From the co-editors’ introduction:

What are we to make . . .  of the observation that Americans who profess to “lean on the everlasting arms” are among those most likely to arm themselves?  How are we ethically to evaluate the proliferation of armed security in places of Christian worship?  What have guns to do with the gospel?  What, if any, biblical guidance might we find for what twenty-first-century Christians are to do in regard to armed self-defense and/or the defense of innocent others?  Are there clear correlations or inherent contradictions between Christian first principles and the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution?  What is or should be the response of evangelical believers especially to current controversies around Second Amendment rights, gun regulation, and gun violence in schools, churches, and elsewhere?

A free webinar on Wednesday, January 27, 2021 at 7-8 pm (Central time) featured the scholars who authored articles contained in “Bullets, Baptists, and the Bible.” Each author spoke for a few minutes and responded to audience questions.  Featured authors included:

  • Benjamin Utter (Ouachita Baptist University)
  • Tarris Rosell (Central Baptist Theological Seminary)
  • Dan R. Stiver (Logsdon School of Theology)
  • Ruth Lofgren Rosell (Central Baptist Theological Seminary)
  • Tad DeLay (Metropolitan State University of Denver)
  • Myles Werntz (Abilene Christian University)
  • David M. May (Central Baptist Theological Seminary)
  • Paul Lewis (Mercer University)
  • Melissa A. Jackson (Managing Editor, Review & Expositor)

Webinar Recording


“Moving the Dial toward Justice”

Moving the Dial Towards Recovery - Benton Franklin Health District

A three-part series on Zoom featuring Dan and Sharon Buttry

Workshop Videos

Thursday, October 8, 2020 – Strategizing to address unjust systems nonviolently in pursuit of justice.

It’s easy to feel angry at the injustices and wrongs we see around us. But how do we engage in the analysis that will reveal what holds up repressive systems? And then how do we begin the planning to bring about liberative change? The Buttrys will introduce a tool that will assist us in this process.

Thursday, October 22, 2020 – Shifting people’s positions on issues of importance.

During such toxic times as these, how do we change people’s understandings and commitments to strengthen the causes we hold dear? The Buttrys will guide us in looking at a tool that first helps us become more aware of the different people related to a particular issue. It then assists us in understanding various approaches to take in order to shift their positions on the topic of concern.

Thursday, October 29, 2020 – Transforming our personal and social traumas for social and political impact. 

How can we turn the traumatic experiences we’ve been through into powerful instruments of social and political change that will also leave us personally stronger? We will explore ways to move beyond being victims into becoming change agents.

Conferences

Climate Crisis

Video Presentations from Climate Crisis Conference: click here

On October 26, 2019, the Buttry Center for Peace and Nonviolence hosted a one day conference entitled “Joining God in Saving the Earth: Mobilizing for Action on the Climate Crisis.”  This conference brought people of faith together to talk about the climate crisis and consider how to mobilize for action that makes a difference.

Participants spent the day with other people of faith concerned about the climate crisis.  They considered how their faith speaks to this crisis, learned about ways it is being addressed, connected with leaders in the community working on this issue, discovered how to make a difference on an individual, congregational, and societal level, and were inspired to act.

The featured speaker was the Rev. Fletcher Harper, an Episcopal priest and the executive director of GreenFaith, an interfaith environmental coalition providing leadership in the religious environmental movement addressing the climate crisis.  Much of the conference was recorded and is available for viewing at the link below.

Video Presentations from Climate Crisis Conference

Rev. Fletcher Harper’s Opening Words

Rev. Dr. Ruth Rosell: “Climate Crisis Reality”

Rev. Fletcher Harper: “GreenFaith in the Face of the Climate Emergency”

Responsive Prayer

Interactive Session with Rev. Fletcher Harper: “Speak Up, Speak Out as People of Faith” 

Rev. Fletcher Harper: “Belief into Action for the Earth”

Rev. Chad Cooper: “From Couch to Climate Advocate”

Rakmi Shaiza: “Speaking for Women and Stitching Change”

John Fish-Kurmann: “Why We need to Rescue Recycling”

Josh Thede: “Project Drawdown: Solutions to Reverse Global Warming”

Dorothy Barnett:  “Climate Action in Kansas”

Lindsey Constance: “The Metro Kansas City Climate Action Plan” 

Resources for Action on the Climate Crisis

National Faith-Based Organizations

Greenfaith: Interfaith Partners in Action for the Earth:   https://greenfaith.org

An interfaith coalition for the environment that works with houses of worship, religious schools, and people of all faiths to help them become better environmental stewards and provides resources and tools.

Living the Change: Faithful Choices for a Flourishing World    https://livingthechange.net

Supports making lifestyle changes that embody the faith commitment to care for the earth and reduce greenhouse gases in the areas of energy use, transportation, and diet.

Blessed Tomorrow   https://blessedtomorrow.org

A diverse group of faith organizations, including many Protestant denominations, answering the call to care for God’s creation by leading on climate solutions, working toward 100% clean energy, and engaging their communities. They offer many resources and guides, including Moving Forward: A Guide to Climate Action for Your Congregation and Community.

Creation Justice of the ABCUSA   https://www.abc-usa.org/creation-justice/

A network of American Baptists who seek to care for God’s creation and all people and to understand that ecological care and human justice are interrelated.  It seeks to provide resources, educate, build leadership, and help churches put into action climate solutions, encouraging them to become creation justice congregations.

Lutherans Restoring Creation:  https://lutheransrestoringcreation.org/

A grassroots movement promoting care for creation in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Caretakers of God’s Creation (United Methodists):  https://www.umccreationcare.org/

A grassroots community of United Methodists who believe caring for and healing the earth are integral to what it means to be a Christian and a United Methodist.

Resources on Climate Change and Solutions

Project Drawdown:  https://www.drawdown.org

Project Drawdown is a global research organization that analyzes the most viable solutions to climate change and shares these scientifically researched solutions for implementation.  This information is shared on its website and in the book Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming.

Kansas City area Organizations Working on Climate Change

Local Drawdown Groups that provide education on Drawdown solutions and support for putting those solutions into action.

Drawdown of the Heartland:  https://www.facebook.com/DrawdownoftheHeartland/

Kansas City Drawdown Society: https://www.facebook.com/Drawdown-Kansas-City-1532139940167103/

Sustainable Sanctuary Coalition:  https://ssckc.org/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/sustainablesanctuarycoalition/

Encourages and partners with people of faith and faith groups to teach, model, and advocate for sustainable living and ecological justice for all creation.

Climate Action KChttps://www.mkccac.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ClimateActionKC/

Drafting a Regional Climate Action Plan that will drawdown greenhouse gases, improve climate resiliency and generate corresponding economic, social, health, and quality of life benefits.

Climate + Energy Projecthttps://www.climateandenergy.org/

Works to find practical solutions to a clean energy future for Kansas.

Compost Collective KC:   https://www.compostcollectivekc.com/

A small group of caring citizens who want to make composting easy for you and keep food out of landfills.

Bridging the Gap:  https://bridgingthegap.org/

Works to make the Kansas City region sustainable by connecting the environment, economy, and community.  Programs include recycling, tree planting, and restoring KC wildlands and native plants.

350KC:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/350kc/

Promotes actions that aim to reduce atmospheric CO2  350/ppm—part of a global initiative through 350.org.

Climate Council of Greater Kansas Cityhttps://climatecouncilgkc.org/about/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ClimateGKC

Provides free education, supports advocacy, and build partnerships to take bold effective action to address the climate crisis and create healthy, just, and sustainable communities in the KC area.

The Resilient Activist: A Joyful Nature Connected Community:                                   https://www.theresilientactivist.org/

Offers support, community-building, and resiliency tools for those who are engaged in addressing the climate crisis.

The Buttry Center for Peace and Nonviolence

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Buttry-Center-for-Peace-and-Nonviolence-107581167337194/

Global Peace Warriors

Global Peace Warriors

Dan and Sharon Buttry have traveled all over the world as consultants, preachers, and teachers for justice and conflict transformation. You can learn more about their work and history as well as more resources for peace at the Global Peace Warriors website.